The Aging Roman Colosseum

Modern Exterior View

Modern Exterior View

Assailed by extreme weather conditions, pollution from a never-ending stream of vehicles, and fractures to its underlying structure, the Roman Colosseum is beginning to feel its age. The ancient monument, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1980, has stood its ground for nearly 2,000 years, defying earthquakes, fires, natural elements, and traffic fumes. But there are increasing signs that unless something drastic is done to rescue the amphitheater from the ravages of time, it will eventually crumble into oblivion, along with so many other neglected landmarks from the Roman Empire.  Read More →

Rome: Gladiators of the Colosseum

Pollice Verso ("With a Turned Thumb"), an 1872 painting by Jean-Léon Gérôme

Pollice Verso (“With a Turned Thumb”), an 1872 painting by Jean-Léon Gérôme

They came, they saw… but not all of them conquered. The gladiator battles at the Colosseum were the main attraction when the massive Flavian amphitheater opened for business in 80 C.E. under Emperor Titus; the gladiators’ bloody, often desperate clashes captured the imagination of the people of Ancient Rome, and ensured the Colosseum became the staging ground for some famous – and notorious – incidents in the history of the Roman Empire. Today’s post examines how the spectacle of gladiators fighting each other to death has ensured the Colosseum remains, even today, a potent symbol of Rome’s past. Read More →