Friday, December 6, 2019

Roman Collusiums Essay Example For Students

Roman Collusiums Essay Architecture of the ancient Roman Empire is considered one of the mostimpressive of all time. The city of Rome once was home to more than one millionresidents in the early centuries AD1. The Romans had a fine selection ofbuilding monuments in the city of Rome including the forums for civic services,temples of worship, and amphitheaters for recreation and play. The Romans madegreat use and pioneered great architecture mechanisms including arches, columns,and even mechanical elements in pulleys and early elevators. However, when onetends to think of great buildings, one building stands out in Rome. Thisbuilding is the Flavian Amphitheatre, or better known as the Colosseum. Whendiscussing such a great monument such as the Colosseum, it is very important torealize the time, place, and culture in wish it stood to fully understand bothits form and function. In the beginnings, Rome was both influenced by theEtruscans of the North and Greeks of Italy and South but had its basic rootsfrom a l ong time of Samnite domination2. The Etruscans were that of aninteresting type as described by Peter Quennell: The Etruscanscombined apassionate devotion to the ordinary pleasures of life with a haunting fear ofdeath. They were cruel, too, and deeply superstitioustheir victims wereordered to fight among themselves until the last had fallen. The Etruscans wouldhave a strong impression in Roman lifestyles and philosophies. For example, thepurple robe worn by leaders would be later adopted by the Romans. They also werethe influence which brought gladiatorial battles of sacrifice into the Romanculture. This was a time of blood thirsty humans who loved the site of battle. Even an early christian named Alypius proclaimed that he took away withhim a mad passion which prodded him not only to return (to gladatior events)with those by whom he had first been forced in, but even ahead of them anddragging in others.3 This was a time of paganism, which meant sacrificeand death. Early christians were persecuted for their beliefs in the first fewcenturies. Clearly in Rome, the focus was not only on religion or the emporer,but we have a focus on leisure and activities. It is said that of athree-hundred and sixty-five day year that one-hundred and fifty days werecelebrated as regular holidays, with over ninety days given up to games4. Thistype of lifestyle would dominate the cities and architecture of the Romans forsome time to come. The people of Rome enjoyed theatres, battles, races, baths,comical events, and of course the game of death. There were many forums,temples, and many amphitheaters in the history of Rome, however only a few standout even today. The Col osseum is the greatest standing building of Rome, and oneof the most recognized worldwide architectural achievements to this day. Theamphitheater is a type of architecture that was without Greek precedents. Thismakes sense since its primary purpose was to hold gladitiator fights and brutalshows which were banned in Athens at the time. Such events held in Romanamphitheaters were horseracing, gymnastics, mock cavalry battles, footraces,prizefighting, wrestling, fights between animals, between men, animals and men,and even naumachiae, or mock sea battles5. One of the first amphitheaters wasthe Pompeian amphitheater of Pompeii of 30 BC. Like the Colosseum, it was ovalin plan. It was supported on great masses of solid earth pierced by a broadcorridor at each end. Stone seats were added at one time but most spectators saton the earth or wooden chairs. Although this amphitheater was a greatinnovation, it would be eclipsed by the Flavian Amphitheater, better known asthe Colosseum. The great building although fitting and plain in design to itssurroundings of Rome still stood out due to its sheer monstrosity and ovalshape. Although the site viewed today is still a marvel, back in the days of itsprime it was a spectacular site that would be difficult to apprehend with onlywordsTVK1. TVK2 The city which held the great structure was full of greatexamples of the use of arches, columns from every order, and of course sheersize. When traveling the city to the Colosseum the whole area had been paved andrailed off. The approach was taken by cobbled slabs of lava, and then oneentered an area paved with travertine more than five thousand feet wide andsurrounded by huge boundary stones6. To a spectator at the time the Colosseumfrom the outside is described by the romantic poet Johann Wolggang von Goethe:When one looks at it all else seems little; the edifice is so vast, that onecannot hold the image of it in ones soul- in memory we think it smaller, andthen return to it again to f ind it every time greater than before. As one lookedat it from the city, there were many sights to behold, but the Colosseum stoodout 19 centuries ago, and still does to this date. At the end of the EmperorNero and the triumph of the Flavians every effort was made to forget the timesof the Julio-Claudians (of which Julius Caesars family) and move to newertimes. The focus of arhictecture and buildings shifted from the emperorscreations to the publics buildings. The next prominent emperor was Vespasian. His first contribution to the public was an enormous forum with a temple ofPeace in it.7 His greatest feat was the beginning of the construction of theColosseum for games purposes around 72 AD. Titus succeeded theever-joking Vespasian and completed his fathers dream around 79-80 AD. Thededication of the Colesseum was a lavish gladiator show that lasted for exactlyone-hundred days in which over nine thousand animals were killed.8 A typical dayat the Colesseum show usually started with a bloodless comic relief battle,often times with dwarfs, women, or cripples battling with wooden objects. A tubawould sound and the main events would begin. The gladiator fights were the mostpopular and prominent fights. These featured two highly trained men battling forcourage, strength, and dignity. They would often rather take a blow and standstrong than wimper and run in defense. The people were in love with gladiatorsmuch like todays sport heroes. It is written that famous women would even leavethei r husbands for famous gladiators which were known to be very scarred andugly by Roman standards.9 The gladiator fight was a ruthless blood-riddenspectacle which usually ended in death by the loser who begged for mercy and waschosen to die by the present emperor or crowd cheers of 45,000 hysterical fans. Propaganda In Art EssayIt was designed purely for the benefit of the audience, to keep them calm andcontent as the violent spectacle unfolded below. It was a roof. The roof of theColleseum was one that was retractable and much like a sailor. So much in fact,sailors who lived in a nearby town managed the velarium, or colored awning. Thiswas a remarkable feat considering that most stadiums now days are still notfully enclosed (such as the Cowboys stadium). The use of the corbels on theuppermost deck and the use of a pulley system brought about this feat ofingenious. Some archeologists thought that the roof was non-existent or was aweb of ropes, but it is now believed to be made from masts and pulleys. Themasts would hold horizontal masts on which to pull the awning over. It isbelieved that it did not cover the whole structure, but at least the mostimportant seatings of the emperor for the whole day.14 Hebrew prisoners andslaves of the time employed the building of the Colesseum. All the details ofthe actual construction are unknown, but it is based upon a barrel-vaultedscheme that circles around. The builders used tavertine blocks to construct aframework of piers, arches, and linked walls and vaults. The cement posts godeep into the ground to support the great weight. The lower level vaults wereconstructed of tufa or pumice. On the upper floors the walls were built withbrick and concrete (utilizing volcanic sand to dry). Travertine was used tosurround the outside and was held in place by iron clamps. 15 The experience ofbeing outside the Colosseum was plain except for the added statues. The outsideof the building was paved with boundaries and roads. One could make out thehundreds of semicircles and arches. The arches increased upwards from Truscan,Doric, and Corinthian columns to the Corinthian Pillars and wall of the fourthdeck. The outside was a brilliant travertine that must have been a spectacularsight. Next to the building one would feel he is nothing but a little gnatcompared to the great building. To get inside one must enter their gate, andproceed up the stairway to the designated level much like a modern stadium. Since there were 80 entrances, many people could occupy the great Amphitheater. Inside the Coloseum the arena floor was wooden and covered with sand to soak theblood. There was a great podium made of marble on the sidelines housed thedignitaries. Above that were marble seats for distinguished private citizens. The second held the middle class, the third held slaves and foreigners, and thefourth levels were for women and the poor who sat on wooden seats.16 The greatvelarium was multicolored and must have been a specticle on the inside of theColosseum when raised. This would also shadow and protect the fans from nature. The arches allowed for great ventilation, stability, and passageways to keep thecrowd comfortable all day. On a whole the Colosseum is symbolized by its sizewhich represents the greatness of Rome. The name may be attributed to its size,or some believe to the colossal statue of Nero nicknamed the crownedcolossus that was nearby. With all of the circular motifs used by thearches, and of the building itself, some believe it symbolizes the sun. Thisalso makes sense considering part of the Colosseum was built from the GoldenHouse of Nero, also known as the solar statue, or sun statue. Many symbols usedin the Colosseum were of Pagan descendent. This included the sacrifices, purplerobes, battle-axes, and hammers of the Etruscan Pagans. The cross was erected tocommemorate the early Christians who are believed to have died here (althoughthere is no evidence to support this belief). The great arch beside the Coliseumwas erected in the third century in honor of Constantine, although much of its decoration was pilfered from monuments to other emperors. Since one of thesymbols was of the sun, the arches created natural and splendid light andshadows as shown in the picture. Much poetry has been written of the light,shadows, and even smoke from the arches of the Colosseum. When it was not noonthe light would create long shadows and yet have bright instances whichaccentuate the arches and columns in the bright light. It shows an alternatingnatural pattern of shadows. One of the first natural changes of the Colosseumcame in 320 when lightning struck and damaged the building. In 422 it wasdamaged by an earthquake. However Theodosius II and Valentitian III repaired itonly to be again damaged by an earthquake in 508. After the sixth century thecity of Rome and the Coleseum went downhill because of some devastatingdisasters. Towards the end of the sixth century grass was starting to growrampant at the Colosseum. Arts and Painting

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