My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius…

30 March 2006
OK, so I couldn’t resist that one, but standing in the Coliseum this afternoon almost left me speechless. The stadium is literally colossal. The tour guide said that it held 70,000 people. That is the equivalent of Arrowhead Stadium – except that they built it 1900 years ago. It felt like being at Arrowhead except it was all made of stone instead of concrete.

The emotions it evoked are hard to describe. It was a mix of awe and horror. As a feat of engineering, it is absolutely amazing. But when you think of what happened inside its walls, it was profoundly sad. Death as entertainment is almost unthinkable to the 21st century North American mind. And yet for almost 500 years it was the norm in Rome and in some parts of the world the practice (at least animal killing) has survived to this day. The whole experience was a little overwhelming.


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