A fascinating way to re-live history is by visiting and studying historical monuments that have stood the test of time. These structures, be it the Taj Mahal, the pyramids of Giza, or Stonehenge, give us a close look into the civilizations that built them. One such monument that is visited by more people now than when it was built, is the magnificent Colosseum of Rome. One of the largest amphitheatres of the ancient world, the Colosseum has captured the imagination of people through the years.
“While the Colosseum stands, Rome shall stand,
When the Colosseum falls, Rome will fall.”
These lines, translated from Latin by the famous English poet Lord Byron, hint at the significance of the structure during its prime. A space that could seat around 60,000 people, the Colosseum has staged many famous public events, plays and gladiator fights during the peak of the Roman Empire.
Now, this ancient stadium is getting some new updates.
For close to two centuries now, the Colesseum has stood proudly at the heart of Italy without a floor. The culprits are 19th-century archaeologists who excavated the structure with the intention to expose the complex series of tunnels that lay underground.
These tunnels housed exotic animals, gladiators and public speakers before their events went live – similar to a backstage area in a modern theatre. The original floor of the Colesseum also had levers, ramps and moving parts that would ‘pop’ the performers onto the stage making it look like they appeared out of thin air.
While removing the floor to study these tunnels was a noble effort, it also meant that the interiors of the Colesseum were exposed to all weather conditions, be it rain, hail or sun.
The Italian Government has finally decided to re-build the floor to protect the tunnels and give visitors the chance to stand at the centre of the stage, the way a glorious Roman performer would have in the olden days.
While the old floor of the Colosseum was built with wood and covered with sand, the entire theatre itself is made of volcanic rock, limestone and concrete. Built during the year 80 AD, three Roman rulers (Vespasian, Titus and Domitian) from the Flavian dynasty oversaw its construction. In fact, its original name was the ‘Flavian Amphitheatre’.
The new floor, however, will be made of carbon fibre and wood. It will be roughly 3,000 square metres in size. Interestingly the new floor will also be reversible. This means that if the authorities decided to get rid of it, they could do it easily and with minimal damage. The construction of the new floor is estimated to be completed by 2023.
Based on what you have read above, which of these predictions about the Colesseum do you think will come true?
Let us know in the comments!
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Deepthi is an ambivert who is on a steady diet of good food, filter coffee, and self-improvement. Being an ardent reader, storytelling has been her first love and she enjoys exploring how to convey stories compellingly. Having studied psychology and experienced the learning and development field, Deepthi is driven to understand human behavior and to know what makes each of us unique. You are most likely to find her tucked into a cozy corner at a local cafe with a Kindle or a book in hand. If you find her there, stop by and say hello, she'd be eager to learn your story too. Until then, you can ping her at [email protected] for anything you may like to share.
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