mellor-online.co.uk/rome october 2008
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The Colosseum

Rome - October 2008

Probably one of the most iconic images of Rome is the Colosseum. Built in AD 72 to 80 it was then known as the 'Flavian Amphitheatre'. It was constructed in concentric circles in what we might now call concrete, and bricks.

It must have been very impressive with flags flying from the top, and inside, fabric awning suspended by wooden poles, keeping the sun off the spectators.

To View full size click on the image above
 
Inside the Colosseum
Inside the Colosseum
To View full size click on the image above
To View full size click on the image above
   
You can see inside, under where the floor would have been, an intricate maze of arches and passages. This is how live animals and probably 'victims' were sprung onto the stage through trap doors. There were blacksmiths, and armouries, and store rooms all at hand to keep the action going.
 
The Colosseum
Arch of Constantine
To View full size click on the image above
To View full size click on the image above

 

The Colosseum is only part of a much larger historic site which makes up the Roman forum. Unfortunately, modern streets have cut off some parts of it. In its day the Roman Nobility would have displayed their opulence, and passed their laws. A good example of this the Arch of Constantine, built to commemorate the Victory of the first Christian Emperor over his rival Maxentius.

 

 

The Pantheon Occulus

The Pantheon is the oldest and best preserved monument in Rome. Originally built by Marcus Agrippa in 27 BC, as a temple dedicated to all the Gods (Pan-Thea)of ancient Rome. Then re-built by Hadrian in AD 118 to 125, adding the rotunda and dome.

The dome is slightly larger than the one above St. Peter's Basilica, with the height from the floor to the Occulus being the same as its diameter. 142 ft. (43.3m). But of course the dome on St. Peter's is on top of a much taller building. It is also made from what we now call Concrete.

The Occulus is the most striking feature, being open to the sky. It is best seen when it is raining, as the rainwater splashes on the marble below, and runs away through drain holes in the floor.