Tuesday, 24 August 2010

The Colosseum

We were up and about fairly early, to make it to our tour for its 10:00am start. Again, the added value of the born and bred Roman guide, Daniel (whose major is Roman archeology), made the story of Colosseum come to life, including stories of the gladiators, its construction, its use over time, and even Russell Crowe!
Here is Daniel who was able to find the small amount of shade on a very hot day in the Colosseum.

The tour reinforced how fantastic the Romans were at engineering and building.
The boys loved the gruesome tales that Daniel told us.

The Colosseum has served an interesting history - built on a swamp as a 'symbol of freedom following the overthrow of a megalomanic Roman Emperor, it first housed naval battles as shows.  Later it was drained, and shows were put on here.  Later, the underground sections were added, and using a wooden floor, trapdoors and hoists, the Romans were able to put on incredible shows.  In its hayday, there would be 3 shows per day.  In the morning there would be 'hunting' (men versus animals).  At lunchtime the criminals would be killed (but theatrically, against animals or groups of trained warriors).  In the afternoon, gladiators would be matched to fight each other.  Rarely would the gladiators kill each other, but they put on evenly matched 'fighting shows'.

In its later life it was used as a cow paddock and a quarry, and even a round about before it became a museum.  Given its history, it is surprising it is standing at all.

Outside you could have your photo taken with a many gladiators. (for a fee naturally)
Nicole was convinced this guy in the white tshirt was George's younger brother....the boys just laughed at her!  Nicole spent her time in Italy looking out for George...no luck!

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