Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ancient Rome (pt. 6)

The Colosseum was a huge arena built for gladiator tournaments.  It is a great example of how Roman architects took from previous Greek ideas and made them their own.  Notice the half-columns on the outside.  The bottom row is the Doric Greek Classical Order; the second row, Ionic; and the third, Corinthian.
Once again, this gigantic structure was made possible via light, quick, inexpensive concrete.  Why is the Colosseum in such poor condition today?  Over the centuries, different rulers took parts of the Colosseum for various things.  The extra concrete came in handy particularly during the chaotic Medieval period, when castles were being erected fast and with those materials that were easiest to find.
As you can see, there is very little religion pictured here.  These monumental infrastructures were not built for the gods but for the people themselves, and (more often than not) merely for their own entertainment.  Theaters, amphitheaters, and stadiums like the Circus Maximus were all constructed for the entertainment of the masses.  Fascinating sociological implications here.  We know that the culture was steeped heavily in debauchery, violent spectacles, and homosexuality.  They are infamous for their persecution of Christians, more of which I'll get to up ahead…

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