Exploring Rome's Ruins

By: Isabella Chiappetta

The Roman Colosseum

ROME- On a rainy day in Rome, Italy, explorer Caesar Augustus names the Roman Colosseum one of the most famous ruins of the time.

In 70-72 AD the Colosseum was said to be a gift to the roman people from their Emperor Vespasian. It was the center of modern Rome. The arena could seat 50,000 spectators on marble and wooden benches.

The Colosseum had 100 days of games with gladiatorial and wild animal fights.

Later on in Rome the Colosseum was completed by successor Domitian, and Titus's brother. After taking nearly a decade of construction, Titus, Vespasian's son, finally opened the Colosseum in 80 AD.

Four centuries later it had fell into neglect. Gladiatorial battles were no longer held after 404 and wild animal fights continued until 523. The 18th century then used it as a source to build materials.

During the 20th century two thirds of the Colosseum had been destroyed due to a combination of weather, natural disasters, neglect, and vandalism. It still remains a popular tourist destination today and each year about 3.9 million people visit the cite.

The 1990's was the decade when people started restoring the Colosseum to its natural form. As Caesar Augustus said, "Everyday you make history."

Colosseum Sports

Wild Animal Fights and Gladiatorial Combat

In ancient Rome wild animal fights and gladiatorial combat was known as sports or entertainment. These fights were held in the Roman Colosseum over the course of 100 days of games. The gladiatorial combats in Rome started over 300 years before the Colosseum was built.

In 264 AD Decimus Junius Brutus Scaeva put on the first gladiatorial combat in honor of his dead father. There were three pairs of slaves selected from among 22 prisoners of war.

In 81 AD wild animal fights had started in the Colosseum and a variety of animal species were chosen. Some of the animals were lions, tigers, bears, and more.

Over time through the 100 days of games 9,000 animals had been slaughtered. The wild animal fights were displayed as clever circus acts where animals were trained tricks or destined for their death.

One festival in 240 AD was when 2,000 gladiators, 70 lions, 40 wild horses, 30 elephants, 30 leopards, 19 giraffes, 10 antelopes, 10 hyenas, 10 tigers, and 1 hippopotamus were against each other. It was man vs. animal.  

Comment Stream