What Happened at the Collosseum in Rome?
Ancient Civilizations 6/23/12
By: Yona Williams
During the ancient days of Rome, the Colosseum was one of the most happening places to go when looking for entertainment in town. Not only did the structure host the exciting bravery and strength of gladiators, but it also offered a place for other events to take place. In this article, you will learn more about what went on in the Colesseum, such as the presence of exotic creatures and victory celebrations.
The shows held at the Colesseum were called munera, which referred to the public works that were provided for the benefit of Roman people. The shows were held by individuals who were highly respected in the city and who had a lot of money. The Romans believed that it was the duty or obligation of the wealthy to provide such services to the public. The most famous of these events were the gladiatorial contests, which started as a service or gift dedicated to the dead at funeral games. The shows also had a religious meaning and were additionally used to highlight the prestige of families and power. The public went wild for these events.
The Colesseum held animal hunts (called venation), which brought a wide range of wild beasts to the amphitheater. The creatures usually hailed from the Middle East and Africa â€“ showcasing the exotic allure of leopards, panthers, Barbary lions, giraffes, elephants, rhinos, hippos, wisents (European wild bison), aurochs (type of large cattle â€“ the ancestor to domesticated cattle), Caspian tigers, crocodiles, and ostriches.
Elaborate stages and scenery were often made for the battles and hunts. Sometimes, they included movable trees and buildings. It was not uncommon to see no expense spared for these events. It is said that Trajan (the 13th emperor of the Roman Empire) celebrated his victories in Dacia in 107 with contests that involved 11,000 animals and 10,000 gladiators over a span of time that lasted 123 days.
When the Colosseum was first built, ancient writers noted that the building hosted simulated sea battles, which were called naumachiae. Titus is credited with filling the amphitheater with water so that specially trained swimming horses and bulls could be put on display. This took place in 80 AD during the inaugural games. An account speaks of a re-enactment of a famous sea battle between the Coryrean Greeks and the Corinthians, but many historians wonder if it really took place. Water could have been incorporated, but it is not clear how the arena dealt with waterproofing or how there was enough space for the warships to move about. Some have even hinted that the location of the event was incorrect or that the Colosseum was equipped with a wide floodable channel down its central axis.
Today, the Colosseum is a major tourist attraction in Rome â€“ attracting thousands of tourists throughout the year. They come to see the interior arena and visit a museum dedicated to Eros, which can be found in the upper floor of the outer wall of the building. Underneath the Colosseum, there is a system of networked subterranean passageways that were once used to transport wild animals and gladiators to the arena. His part of the amphitheater is now open to the public.