Monday 28 Sep, 2015

Area of Study: The Colosseum

A Fresh take on Familiar Landmarks
Europe is full of some of Earth’s most striking and famous man-made landmarks—and as an educator, you know their value goes beyond mere sightseeing. Here are just a few of the many educational stories that inspire us about the Eiffel Tower, Tower of London and the Colosseum. Which one will you tell?

Often remembered for grisly combat and the dreaded thumbs-down from Caesar, the Colosseum was much more than just a stage for violence. Throughout the centuries, the impressive stadium and its games assumed many roles to suit the Romans of the time.

Colosseum_in_Rome,_Italy_-_April_2007

1. Political Science
Emperor Nero understood the importance of keeping the people happy, but the Colosseum wasn’t funded solely by the state. Munera (which translates to “gifts”) were gladiatorial games funded by wealthy Romans who felt a responsibility to give back to the community—and win votes come election day.

Forum_Romanum_panorama

2. Religious Studies
Religion drove almost every aspect of Ancient Roman civilization. In many ways the Colosseum was a lot like a giant temple and the games its masses. Most of the sacrificial games weren’t for sport alone; they were an attempt to appease the gods and maintain civic piety.

Colosseum Interior

3. Social Science
The first recorded gladiatorial fights in Rome (well before the Colosseum) were almost always held in a Forum Boarium, which was the ritual and social center of a city. The Colosseum was the grandest example of these historic meeting places, and acted as a church, community center and senate all in one.

colosseum aerial

4. Engineering and Architecture

Taking 10 years to construct, the Colosseum is a marvel of ancient Rome.  Estimated to hold between 50,000-80,000 spectators, even 2,000 years later it rivals modern professional sports arenas.  And it is a perfect example of Roman architecture with it’s use of arches and was the largest amphitheater built by the Romans.

Colosseum Arches

While reading about history is one thing, experiencing it is another. Take your students all over Italy or help us create a custom itinerary based on your curriculum. Let’s make it happen.