Roman Forum and Colosseum

Filed under: Italy — Russell @ 12:56 pm  

The Forum comprises two main areas, the Palatine Hill over looking the city and the actual forum where the remains of many temples can be found.  Legend has it that Rome was founded here by Romulus.  He and his brother Remus were abandoned by their uncle and rescued by a she wolf who kept them alive by allowing them to suckle at her teat.  Recent archaeological evidence suggests that there were settlements on the hill at about the right era.  The story about being raised by wolves is still unsubstantiated.

Augustus, son of Cesar, made his home on these hills but his political life  happened down the hill at the Forum.  It was here that the Roman senators met to discuss the business of the empire.  The forum today contains the remains of many temples including the place where the remains of Julius Caesar were cremated.  It was subsequently called the Temple of Caesar.  There is also an early Christian Basilica.  Leaving the forum and going up the hill you pass through the arch of Titus on your way to the Colosseum.

The Colosseum is the most iconic image of Rome.  In the days of the empire it was used for public entertainment.  Seating over 50 thousand spectators displays included battles with gladiators, slaves and animals.  It was capable of being flooded to allow mock sea battles.  It was also a place of execution with the crowd screaming for blood and the emperor making the final judgment, usually death.  Saint Telemachus once jumped into the ring to plead with the crowd to stop a brutal gladiatorial fight.  He was promptly stoned to death.  Legend has it that the mob was so shamed at their blood lust that they demanded an end to such entertainment.  Perhaps the same thing will happen in our time with reality TV but it will take a very telegenic saint to achieve this victory.

After the fall of the empire, the Colosseum was use as a quarry to supply materials for other buildings in Rome.  Even with this pillage, it is an impressive sight with most of the superstructure still intact.

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