The Colosseum

The ancient controversial amphitheater is the archetypal icon of the Roman empire. The spectacle of life and death raged behind its arches and on its oval stage since its completion in 80 AD. Gladiators, slaves, convicts and beasts, all spilled their blood in the sand throughout the rule of the Roman emperors.

Its many uses along the ages, which attest to the architectural quality of the compound, also reflect the change in society’s priorities of life and the city. In the middle ages, dwellers of Rome made the vaults of the Colosseum their home. A religious order established itself there for a few centuries. A Roman family made it their stronghold for a while. Its stone blocks and bronze were taken away for other uses in the city. Earthquakes and fires also had their way with the structure, before it was finally gave way to the current waves of tourists that flock daily to the Colosseum.

O antigo e controverso anfiteatro é o ícone arquetípico do império Romano. O espectáculo da vida e da morte alastrava-se por detrás dos seus arcos e sobre o seu palco oval desde a sua conclusão em 80 dC. Gladiadores, escravos, condenados e feras, vertiam o seu sangue na areia ao longo do jugo do império Romano.

Os seus muitos usos ao longo da história, que atesta à qualidade arquitectónica do complexo, também reflecte as mudanças nas noções da sociedade sobre as prioridades da vida e da cidade. Na Idade Média, habitantes de Roma fizeram das abóbadas do Coliseu a sua casa. Uma ordem religiosa estabeleceu-se lá durante alguns séculos. Uma família Romana fez dele a sua fortazela por um tempo. Os seus blocos de pedra e partes em bronze foram retirados para outros usos na cidade. Terramotos e fogos também deixaram a sua marca na estrutura, antes de finalmente darem lugar às presentes vagas de turistas que, diariamente, invadem o Coliseu.

Author: Pedro Loureiro

I was born on the southwestern-most tip of Europe, in Lagos, Portugal. A childhood of legos and sandcastles led me to architecture school, but an adolescence of doodling drove me to sketching and later to illustration. I like to sketch, to travel and to chop vegetables into tiny manageable bits. I also like maps. The older the better!

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