Monday, May 28, 2007
The Flavian Amphitheatre
The what? Its not the Colosseum, its the Flavian Amphitheatre, which is the family name of the Emperor Nero. Stood next to the amphitheatre was a 40 meter high statue of Nero. The statue was Colosso, and that is where it got its nickname from.
In the 4th centuary Rome converted to Christianity under the emperor Constantine (It is his arch that stands outside). As it was Nero who had St Peter and St Phillip matyred, the early Christians had his statue melted down and made into Christain iconography. That'll teach him!
Inside you can see the ruins of the slave and animal cages under where the arena was. When it was built there were free games for the first 100 days. During that time 600 gladiators and 9000 wild animals were killed! And all for free for the citizens. Only the best seats were for sale because they were closest to the action.
The amphitheatre had 80 entrances, but only 4 went to the lower levels; the rest took you to the higher levels.
The Amphitheatre lasted for 450 years until the fall of the Roman Empire. The Pope at the time then ordered any brick or marble that was needed for Christian building projects should be taken from the pagan temples around the city. And the Colosseum was pilaged and ruined for a thousand years until some time in the 1700's when calmer heads prevailed and preservation of the Roman monuments started.