Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Roman Holiday: The Colosseum

I've selfishly decided to catch up on the Rome whirlwind, if only because writing it down now while it's still fresh will be fun for me to refer back to. Hopefully it's a fun read too!

Rome in summer is crowded, hot, dusty and overwhelming. I've never been in a city so loaded with history, religion, art and culture. It is literally beneath your feet and around every corner. We only had four days but were lucky to be traveling with like minded friends. We'd never manage to see it all, so we figured we'd do the the highlights and take plenty of breaks for pasta, pizza, wine and gelato. But we started with the Colosseum.

As we walked in the entrance with the tourist hordes, Eric turned to his left and noticed one of his students! Turns out he had stumbled upon a tour group of students from Hawaii and two of his kids were in the group. After exclamations about the coincidence they sweetly posed for this photo. I think it pleased E to see them out exploring and enjoying the world- this was such an important theme in his classes (and our life really!)

The other thing that struck me about this mammoth place is that it really was a house of death, where hundreds of thousands of gladiators and animals fought to the death for the amusement of the masses. (A grisly detail? After some of the tournaments they attempted to cover the stench of blood with perfumes. I hope it was strong stuff.)

We like to think of ourselves as more civilized, and perhaps we are, but don't movies serve much the same function? We take comfort in the thought that it's all fake, but I think those scenes may affects our psyche in much the same way it did to see someone's throat cut and their lifeless body dragged away. (A bloody movie certainly gives me lifelike and terrifying nightmares.) And football is still played in stadiums based on this same design. While few players die, there is evidence that this game causes brain damage to many of it's athletes. Food for thought at least.

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