Project Description

The Colosseum: Ludi et Mors (Games and Death)

Who masterminded one of the most impressive stadiums in the world?  Is it true that circa 65,000 spectators could feast their eyes on the games offered to them by the State?  During half-time, did musicians really play in the arena as perfumes and gifts were showered on the crowds?

After this visit, you’ll understand the Colosseum inside and out!  We’ll talk about it engineering.  (It will leave you flabbergasted and you’ll continue to see the Colosseum in your mind’s eye long after our visit.)  We’ll discuss its seating capacity and how tens of thousands of people navigated its space.  We’ll talk about concession stands and game snacks, we’ll talk about gladiator figurines and other merchandise, and the economy of blood sports–from the importation of foreign animals from the four corners of the world to training Olympic sports heroes and first-class performers for display.

By the time the tour is over, you’ll have a greater appreciation of the Colosseum as highly advanced engineering and architecture, and you’ll better understand the subtle psychology behind empire, violence, and entertainment.  We will separate the gruesome facts from the gory fiction, and explain some of the Romans’ more cruel behavior.

This visit lasts approximately two hours.  It can be conveniently coupled up with a visit to the Roman Forum, the Palatine Hill or the underground attraction, San Clemente, which are all nearby.  Architecture buffs will enjoy a half-day that focuses on two Guinness Book of Imperial Wonders: the Colosseum and the Pantheon (see my Campus Martius stroll)!

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