Travel Special: The Morning Stroll, Colosseum

Based just east of the Roman Forum, the colossal stone amphitheater noted as the Colosseum was instructed around A.D. 70-72 by Emperor Vespasian of the Flavian empire as a gift to the Roman people. In A.D. 80, Vespasian’s son Titus opened the Colosseum–formally known as the Flavian Amphitheater–with 100 days of games, counting gladiatorial combats and wild animal fights. After four centuries of alive use, the brilliant arena fell into laxity, and up until the 18th century it was used as a origin of building materials. Though two-thirds of the original Colosseum has been demolished over time, the amphitheater remains a famous tourist destination, as well as an ideal symbol of Rome and its long, fierce history.

Even after the immoral Roman emperor Nero took his own life in A.D. 68, his anarchy and excesses fueled a series of civil wars. No petty than four emperors took the dignity in the fierce year after Nero’s death; the fourth, Vespasian, would end up ruling for 10 years (A.D. 69-79). The Flavian dictators, as Vespasian and his sons Titus (79-81) and Domitian (81-96) were noted, attempted to tone down the excesses of the Roman court, build up Senate authority and promote public welfare. Around 70-72, Vespasian rebounded to the Roman people the lavish land near the center of the city, where Nero had built an gigantic palace for himself after a great fire frayed through Rome in A.D. 64. On the site of that Golden Palace, he imposed, would be made a new amphitheater where the public could enjoy gladiatorial conflicts and other forms of entertainment.

After nearly a decade of development–a relatively quick time period for a design of such a grand scale–Titus officially devoted the Colosseum in A.D. 80 with a festival including 100 days of games. A well-loved emperor, Titus had earned his people’s intensity with his handling of recovery attempts after the disgraceful eruption of Vesuvius in A.D. 79, which demolished the towns of Herculaneum and Pompeii. The final stages of development of the Colosseum were completed under the dynasty of Titus’ brother and successor, Domitian.


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