Monday, May 18, 2009

Politicians and Gladiators

On Thursday we visited the Forum and Palatine Hill and the Colosseum. The Forum was basically the heart of ancient Rome, where senators and Caesars made the laws that governed the empire. Though much is in ruins now, some buildings were preserved because they were turned into Catholic churches. Along with the curia where the laws were made, there were many temples to Roman gods and also some arches like this one to the right which was raised to commemorate Titus destroying Jerusalem and bringing the Temple treasures to Rome.

The Palatine Hill was the prime spot of realty available to wealthy ancient Romans. The Caesars built their homes there, and you could still see the remains of the palaces of Augustus and Nero.

The Colosseum is truly huge in size. It used to have a wooden floor but now you can see the underground tunnels used to move the animals, gladiators and those doomed to execution into the arena. Outside you can get a picture with some (almost) authentically costumed gladiators.
I once read a historical novel that implied Romans would buy sand for the floor of the Colosseum before they would buy bread to feed their families.

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