by Luke Farmer
The people of Ancient Rome have become the classic example of civilisation and culture. The majestic monument of the Colosseum is testament to this, standing tall and tough (having survived nearly 2000 years)! Yet the most striking part of this priceless piece of art is the sheer ingenuity and intelligence of mankind. Standing small beneath this remarkable building it is indeed hard to picture how man and mind engineered and built the extravagance and beauty, and their utter nerve.
Whether we look at this monument’s origin or its history we notice its influence on people and places. Indeed, the marble and stone from the Colosseum were used in St Peter’s Basilica. Rich, ornate cathedrals of the Papal State coat the city of Rome but the remnants of the Romans remain the best tool to bring my imagination of history to reality. The Colosseum is simply the best place to visualise, touch and sense what history would have been like, due to the seismic scale of the structure.
The concept of the Colosseum was conceived by a man of great standing and significance, the Emperor Vespasian, a warrior, a leader, but above all a great citizen. His project may have been conceived for political purposes, but this centre was a hub, a forum, which stands as one of the best examples of the Classical World.
To me, just standing within the circle of the Colosseum is like being in a Tardis travelling time; I can almost feel the sensation of the coldblooded murder of slaves and animals within the circle.
A gateway opens and out walks cautiously an armoured, but clearly nervous gladiator, unnerved by the huge mass of people which cheers raucously as they slaver over the thought of the slaughter. These games were commissioned by the Emperor of Rome as a special spectacle, to appease the masses. But what is striking is that the most powerful men in the world had to bend their knee, power and money to the entertainment of the proletariat; so powerful, yet not the most powerful. Power of the people has an intricate importance within history and the Colosseum, as one of its first creations, is arguably the best place to realise this relationship.
So if like me you also desire to reach out and touch history, take a look through the window to the past that is the Roman Colosseum!