We Are Headed to the Colosseum in Rome

(Captains:  Don’t forget to report your March kilometres)

It’s a good thing that we are travelling via the computer and imagination.  Rome, like many other cities is almost deserted right now.  So along with our “visit” we are sending wishes for recovery in Italy – which has been hit hard during this pandemic.

Here are some interesting facts about the Colosseum:

  • Built between 72 AD and 80 AD, the Colosseum was constructed by tens of thousands of Jewish slaves. Even today, construction of a stadium that size would be difficult to build in only 9 years. It measures 190 metres long, 156 metres wide and 50 metres high. It is the largest amphitheatre in the world.
  • The Colosseum could seat around 80,000 spectators for gladiator contests, animal hunts and re-enactments of famous battles, including mock sea battles (they flooded it with water). There were 80 entrances/exits and 30 trap doors connecting the underground to the surface.
  • The Colosseum had an early form of a Skydomeusing a retractable awning.
  • The animals that fought in the arena included lions, tigers, rhinos, elephants, crocodiles, giraffes and bears. It’s estimated that over 400,000 people and over a million wild animals died during the centuries that the games took place (the North African elephant was hunted to extinction). Some games lasted up to 100 days.
  • Emperors paid for events themselves. Entry and food was free for all Romans (I don’t think they served hot dogs and cold beer!).
  • Seating in the Colosseum was arranged by class, citizenship and sometimes even gender. Like today, a numbering system at the enterances was used to help people find their seats.
  • Gladiator contests stopped in 435 AD and the last animal hunts were in 532 CE, partly due to the cost of acquiring animals and gladiators.
  • By the 20th century, weather, natural disasters, neglect and vandalism had destroyed nearly two-thirds of the original Colosseum, including all of the arena’s marble seats and its decorative elements. Some of the stones were removed to construct other buildings including St. Peter’s Basilica
  • The Colosseum has become a symbol against capital punishment. Today, any time anyone in the world has a death sentence commuted or they are released, the night lights in the Colosseum change from white to gold. This color change also occurs whenever a jurisdiction abolishes the death penalty.
  • Today the Colosseum is a major tourist destination and occasionally used for live concerts. Ray Charles, Paul McCartney, Billy Joel and Elton John have performed there.
– onthegotours.com. discoverywalks.com, softschools.com, unsplash.com (photos)



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