Reading Week (Rome)

16 Mar

Getting to visit Rome for a second time while travelling during Reading Week was just as incredible as my first visit. I had been particularly fascinated with the Coliseum and had wanted to see it at night on my first trip. I did not get the opportunity, however this time I did and it was just as beautiful as I thought it would be. The history of the Coliseum is fascinating, both the construction of it and the events that took place in it as well.

Gladiators killing each other began as a funeral tradition. Romans believed that their dead were angry because they were no longer alive and they were jealous of the living. Romans believed that pain, the slaughter of animals, and most of all, the killing of another human was necessary to appease the spirits of their dead family members. As a result, they would go to the slave market, buy two slaves, and make them fight to the death over their dead relative’s grave, and the winner got to be free. As more and more people began doing this, more and more people would go to watch. Eventually, this became a tradition and it would happen every three years. Though this began religiously, it became a form of entertainment and inevitably made its way into Roman politics. Running politicians could advertise the events they would be putting on for everyone (which got extremely savage). It was easy to advertise because the literacy rate was very high, even the poor people in society could be reached through the advertising. Election time was when the people running had the chance to demonstrate to the population how they would be lavish and not cheap if they won. Each election time the games got bigger, because now the people running could not do less than the last time for fear of coming off as cheap. At one point, Caesar even had an amphitheater flooded and gladiator fights took place on boats with crocodiles in the water.

The history of Rome is captivating but not something people with weak stomachs would enjoy too much. When admiring the beauty of the Coliseum, it is easy to forget all of the pain, panic, and savage behavior that also took place there many, many years ago.

Abate, Mark. “Ancient Rome.” Italy. Parenzo Hall, Westfield. 6 May 2013. Lecture.

“Roman Empire & Colosseum.” Roman Colosseum. Tribune Sand Triumphs, n.d. Web. 19 Aug. 2013. <;.

By: Alyssa Ashleen Danilow


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