Thursday, August 2, 2012

Rome Day 2: The Colosseum and a Dental Update

Okay, I've got to admit that my bratty, abscessed tooth has me distracted, so I am going to be totally lazy and quote some interesting facts about the Colosseum from DK Eyewitness Travel: Rome. 

"Rome's greatest amphitheater was commissioned by the Emperor Vespasian in AD 72 on the marshy site of a lake in the grounds of Nero's palace, the Domus Aurea. Deadly gladitorial combats and wild animal fights were staged free of charge by the emperor and wealthy citizens for public viewing. The Colosseum was built to a practical design, with its 80 arched entrances allowing easy access to 55,000 spectators, but it is also a building of great beauty." (DK Eyewitness Travel: Rome, page 92.) The Colosseum, which was completed about a decade after its commission, is an engineering marvel. Every detail is so meticulous and so perfect yet it was done without the benefit of modern technology. To stand near and within its boundaries is simply breathtaking. One cannot help but appreciate its magnificence. Here are several shots of its exterior.
"The emperors held shows here which often began with animals performing circus tricks. Then came the gladiators, who fought each other to the death. When one was killed, attendants dressed as Charon, the mythical ferryman of the dead, carried his body off on a stretcher, and sand was raked over the blood ready for the bout. A badly wounded gladiator would surrender his fate to the crowd. The 'thumbs up' sign from the emperor meant he could live, 'thumbs down' that he die, and the victor became an instant hero. Animals were brought here from as far away as North Africa and the Middle East. The games held in AD 248 to mark the thousandth anniversary of Rome's founding saw the death of a host of lions, elephants, hippos, zebras, and elks." (DK Eyewitness Travel: Rome, page 94.) If you've seen the Russell Crowe movie The Gladiator, you already know that Roman gladiators were most likely slaves and criminals. Were Christians actually thrown to the lions in the Colosseum? That seems to be a matter of fervent debate. Some scholars believe that this cross is a tribute to the Christians who died during the games. Others assert that Christians were, indeed, fed to the lions but that non-Christians were as well. Yet others claim that no humans other than gladiators were ever killed in the Colosseum.
Regardless, it cannot be denied that scores of deaths occurred within the Colosseum's walls and were done so as a means of public entertainment. This hieroglyph bears witness to these games.  
Now that I've turned your mood somber, here are some photos of the interior which, despite the events that took place within its walls, is every bit as architecturally magnificent as is its exterior. 
Brittany teaches history to high schoolers and could not resist reenacting one of Mussolini's speeches. I have no idea which one she meant and she's camping so I can't ask her. In any case, her baby brother couldn't resist being her baby brother, ha ha.
But I also got one of just her
and of her with my other favorite girl. 
And here we are within one of the most famous historical landmarks in the world. It really was a powerful experience to stand amidst such a significant juxtaposition of humanity's best and worst offerings. For me, it was a very emotional experience even though I had previously seen it. 
We were hot and tired and starving after viewing both the Forum and the Colosseum in one day, particularly because the temperature was near 100 degrees. We stopped at a restaurant across the street from the Colosseum where the guys enjoyed quenching their thirst.
Do you remember the view that we had the night before as we dined in the Pantheon's courtyard? Well our view during lunch on this day was no less spectacular.
After lunch, Emma grabbed the hands of Papa and Uncle Brennan as we headed off towards our next adventure. But that's a story for another day.
It's a good thing I prepared this post yesterday because my mouth is way too crabby for me to do it today. As for my dental update: it's not good. I needed to have a root canal on a lower back molar. There were two canals in that tooth that needed to be opened. After two hours, the endodontist was still unable to open the second canal (instead of simple curves, both canals have nearly 90 degree angles because I'm special, LOL). So she injected the second canal with an ointment to soften and help open it. I need to go back in a week to have that canal opened. I may also need to have a root canal on the adjacent molar, as well as crowns on both molars. The infection is rather nasty, affecting both my upper and lower jaws and one ear. I'll remain on the antibiotics for awhile. In the meantime, I am still in a lot of pain and cannot take narcotics. The doctor said the next three days won't be much fun so I guess I'll just have to wear my big girl panties and tough it out for a while. Thank goodness for the Olympics and  Pinterest. At least I'll be entertained for the next few days.

See ya soon with more scoop on Rome.


Anonymous said...

Your trip looks great!

--Karen and Kevin

Anonymous said...

Wonderful photos of an incredible historic site. Gives me chills at the grandeur and endurance of the structure, yet angers me, with what took place there so long ago.
Really do enjoy your blog Vicki!