Wednesday, November 19, 2014
NOV 19 ROMAN COLOSSEUM TO BE RENOVATED?
Rome is abuzz about a new proposal from Italy's Culture Minister, Dario Franceschini. Believe it or not, but he has backed a proposal to rebuild the Colosseum in Rome and convert it to a modern arena. As expected, a tidal wave of cultural backlash has engulfed the capital. "It needs to remain an icon!' shouted professor Giorgio Croci. He believes restoring the crumbling ruin to a usable venue is "beneath its dignity."
Really, Giorgio? Who are you to define what dignity means to a marble building? Let's review the facts. Roman Emperor Vespasian ordered the construction of the Flavian Amphitheater in the year 70 AD. The previous year had seen four emperors executed, and Vespasian was eager to please his angry constituency. Fortunately, he knew what exactly what Rome desperately needed: Bread and Circuses. His first order of business was to build a 65,000 stadium in the center of the city...the largest in the empire.
Why bring this up? Because we think Professor Croci has forgotten about the Inaugural Games and the reason why the Colosseum was built in the first place: To entertain the masses. When the barbarians finally toppled Rome in 476 AD, they melted down the Nero statue but left the Amphitheater intact. For the next thousand years, it still housed gladiator fights and religious services. The end of the fun came suddenly in the year 1349. A major earthquake destroyed a third of the structure, and it was never used for entertainment again.