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To kill a eraser Essay

The architecture of the ancient Roman Empire is one of the most fascinating and amazing of all time. In ancient times, the city of Rome had more than one million residents. The ancient Romans made great use of architectural shapes like arcs and columns. One famous structure that comes to mind when people think of Rome is the Colosseum, which was originally called the Amphitheatrum Flavium. The Colosseum is one of the most memorable architectural monuments in the world. For hundreds of years, the Colosseum presented gladiatorial fights, wild animal fights, and other games that entertained the Roman citizens. The cruelty of the games displayed the power of Rome to the people. The history of the Colosseum symbolizes the power and the greatness of Rome.

The construction of the Colosseum started in the aftermath of Emperor Nero’s extravagance and the rebellion of the Jews in Palestine. Emperor Nero built a golden house in the center of Rome for his pleasure after the great fire in 64 CE. Emperor Nero committed suicide as he faced a military uprising in 68 CE and the Roman Empire devolved into civil war. The victory in the civil war went to Emperor Vespasian. He then decided to build an amphitheater or pleasure palace to give pleasure to the people of Rome to help people forget the war.

The Colosseum was to be built on the site of a lake in the gardens of Emperor Nero’s palace. It was the largest amphitheater in the Roman Empire and was capable of holding more than 50,000 spectators.1 There were over 250 amphitheaters in the Roman Empire at that time, but the Colosseum was the largest. The large number of amphitheaters in the Roman Empire indicates that they represented essential symbols of the Roman culture.

Vespasian began construction of the Colosseum in 72 CE and it was finished in eight years later by Vespasian’s son, Emperor Titus.2 The Colosseum was officially known as the Amphitheatrum Flavium at first. After the Colosseum was finished, Titus sponsored the inaugural games in the arena, which lasted more than 100 days.3 Cassius Dio, a Roman historian, wrote that during the inaugural games in the Colosseum, more than 9,000 wild animals were killed.4 The Colosseum was used for many games, including gladiatorial combats and wild animal fights to pleasure the people of Rome. The gladiators of Rome were usually slaves, prisoners of war or criminals.

However, some gladiators were volunteers who risked their legal and social standing and their lives by fighting in the arena. Gladiators were despised as slaves and they were treated very badly. They were even segregated when they died. Most of the gladiators were men, but there were a few female gladiators. One contest after another was staged in the course of a single day. When the ground of the Colosseum became too soaked with blood, it was covered with a fresh layer of sand and the battles continued.

Cameron Hawkins, an assistant professor of history at the University of Chicago, estimates 5,000 gladiators could have been killed each year during the Roman Empire.5 The gladiatorial games in the Colosseum continued until Christianity progressively put an end to the entertainment that included the death of human beings. After four centuries of active use, the magnificent Colosseum faced severe problems, and until the 18th century it was used largely as a source of building materials.

Over time the Colosseum was used for many things besides gladiatorial combat and wild animal fights. The Colosseum was occasionally filled with water to re-enact naval battles using gladiators. Experts do not agree on how this was achieved. However, Cassio Dio wrote: “Titus suddenly filled this same theatre with water and brought horses and bulls and some other domesticated animals that had been taught to behave in liquid element just as on land. He also brought in people in ships, who engaged in a sea-fight there, impersonating the Corcyreans and Corinthians.”6 By the late 6th century, the arena was used as a cemetery. Also some areas in the Colosseum became housing and workshops.

Areas were rented out to people until the 12th century. Around 1200, the Frangipani family took over the Colosseum, fixed it, and used it as their castle. In the mid-13th century, the Colosseum was severely damaged by a great earthquake that caused parts of it to collapse. Much of the tumbled stone from the Colosseum were not used to rebuild the Colosseum. Instead, it was used to build palaces, churches, hospitals, and other buildings in Rome. A religious order moved in to the ruined Colosseum in the mid-14th century and used it as their headquarters until the early 19th century.

The Colosseum was frequently damaged. In 217 CE, the Colosseum was badly damaged by a great fire that was caused by lightning. This fire destroyed the wooden upper levels inside the Colosseum. The building was reopened after restoration in 222 CE. The Visigoths, a nomadic tribe of Germanic people, took control of Rome in 408 CE, and they damaged the Colosseum during their invasion and their occupation of the city. The Colosseum was damaged again when a major earthquake hit Rome in 443 CE. Other earthquakes damaged the Colosseum in 484 CE and 504 CE. Eventually, the Colosseum was restored again and games continued in the arena. The Colosseum was not significantly damaged again until 1349, when another earthquake hit Rome and caused the south side of the Colosseum to collapse.

This time, much of the tumbled stones were used to build other things and the Colosseum was not fully repaired. Later, various popes initiated stabilization and restoration projects in the 19th century to avoid further destruction of the Colosseum. For example, the façade was reinforced with triangular bricks to enhance stabilization. Restoration of the interior was started in the early 19th century and was finished by Benito Mussolini in the 1930s. Over time, two-thirds of the Colosseum has been destroyed. The interior has been reconstructed but the façade is still in ruins as half of it is missing. The Colosseum was home to such events as gladiatorial fights, wild animal fights, and other entertainment that was extremely violent. This violence symbolized the idea that no one could beat the Romans. As Lord Byron once wrote, “While stands the Colosseum, Rome shall stand; When falls the Colosseum, Rome shall fall; And when Rome falls—the world.”7 The Colosseum has become a famous tourist destination and the number one historical site that tourists will never forget when they visit Rome. The Colosseum is the symbol of Rome, as well as one of the most important ancient monuments in the world.

ENDNOTES
1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colosseum Accessed May 3,2013 2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colosseum Accessed May 3,2013 3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inaugural_games_of_the_Flavian_Amphitheatre Accessed May 4,2013 4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colosseum Accessed May 3,2013 5. http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20100804/news/308049980 Accessed May 5, 2013 6.
http://www.roman-colosseum.info/colosseum/water-battles-at-the-colosseum.htm Accessed May 5, 2013 7. http://www.flickr.com/photos/kauphyluvr/6845560363/ Accessed May 8, 2013

BIBLIOGRAPHY
Spodek, Howard. The World’s History. Boston: Prentice Hall, 2011. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colosseum Accessed May 3, 2013
http://www.greatbuildings.com/buildings/Roman_Colosseum.html Accessed May 3, 2013 http://www.the-colosseum.net/idx-en.htm Accessed May 3, 2013 http://italy.worldwide-accom.com/rome/colosseum/guides/the-full-history-of-romes-famous-colosseum#.UX2r5LUvmC Accessed May 4, 2013 http://www.history.com/topics/colosseum Accessed May 4, 2013 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inaugural_games_of_the_Flavian_Amphitheatre Accessed May 4, 2013 http://www.roman-colosseum.info/colosseum/water-battles-at-the-colosseum.htm Accessed May 5, 2013 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gladiator Accessed May 8, 2013

http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20100804/news/308049980 Accessed May 8, 2013


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