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Colosseum inside, Rome Italy

The Colosseum, (or for the the early Romans, Amphitheatrum Caesareum ) of Rome is an amazing structure and represents the brilliance of design and building know-how of the Roman Empire under the emporer Vespasian in the year 72 AD. It was completed five years later by Titus Flavia, his son, but some believe Titus' brother, Domus Aurea, who later became emporer, saw it's completion. When the building was completed, there was ceremony and joyful celebrations lasting over three months.

Standing anywhere in the coloseum, you can almost hear the cheers of the spectators in the upper seats and feel the enormity of it. It could hold up to 70,000 Romans, all there to cheer on the gladiators and it was used in this manner for centuries. There was a law in ancient Rome that the rulers and aristocrats of the city had the responsibility of organizing the bloody games and they did so with relish, enjoying the sites along with the lower class who cheered in the highest seats of the theatre (the cheap seats). There was just enough barbarism to satisfy the raucious crowds. People were "entertained" regularily with public executions. Christians were set upon by lions and killed in the Colosseum. Mock battles were dramatized for the spectators and 1000's of people were killed in this ancient form of entertainment.

The building must have been beautiful in it's heyday and for a pilgrim to the city, seeing it for the first time would have been both shocked and awed him. Like the Greeks, the early Romans were masters of design and building. The Colosseum wasn't the ruin we see today. It had a white facade, with 4 floors opening up around the arena and within each of the decorative arches were massive statues. It wouldn't fail to impress.

Beginning around the 5th or 6th century, it's uses began to change and there were many. It became too expensive to hold the games and mock battles on top of keeping the building in good repair. It had survived fire and earthquakes and was time to let go of the old ways. It wasn't totally abandoned, but it was no longer used as the great amphitheatre it once was. It held a graveyard in the arena itself and over the centuries, it became a fort for the various clans of the ancient city whose leaders took up residence there. Churches appeared inside the building. A religious order took it over for a time and people began removing stone from it for various other buildings in Rome.



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Colosseum inside, Rome Italy
Colosseum inside, Rome Italy
Colosseum inside, Rome Italy