Zimmerman 1 Austin Zimmerman
27 September 2013
Pillars of History
The Colosseum is one of the most famous structures that was built during the Roman Empire. The Colosseum hosted many games and events, including gladiator battles that were highly entertaining to Roman citizens. Constructing the Colosseum brought new knowledge about how to use a building for multiple events. Even when Rome’s city was defeated, the Colosseum was never completely vacant. Gladiator fights, Sea battles, and animal sacrifice were Roman citizens’ favorite events to watch. The gladiator fights were matches where two men tried to kill each other in the arena. This event was popular due to the charisma and courage the gladiators showed. When a wounded gladiator threw down his shield and raised a finger, the sponsors of that game would decide if he lived or died. It was tradition for the sponsors to listen to the crowd to decide the gladiator’s fate. Once the sponsors decided, they would either put a thumbs up, meaning the gladiator was to live, or a thumbs down, signaling the gladiator should be killed. “If a gladiator was killed, they would drag his corpse out through the Porta Libitina (Gate of Death) at the eastern end of the arena” (Mueller). When the fights ended, the few victorious gladiators were rewarded with a palm branch and gold coins. The gladiators would also fight together to try to kill animals such as lions, bears, and hyenas. Emperor Trajan celebrated his conquest of the Dacians (ancestors) by having the gladiators slaughter over 11,000 animals. The Colosseum could be flooded with several feet of water to make a pool that would be used to mimic sea battles. Gladiators would be placed in flat-bottomed boats mimicking proper ancient roman ships and the different vessels would then attack each...
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