Following the Footsteps of Paul: The Colosseum of Rome
In my opinion the most impressive ancient monument in Rome has to be the Colosseum. It was built by Emperor Vespasian, using the booty his son General Titus took from the sack of Judea in 70AD. This was the very thing Jesus warned his disciples was going to happen in Matthew 24.
On my earlier visit to Rome I saw the Colosseum for the first time with my own eyes. It is amazing. It would have seated 50,000. In it’s first version, they could flood the floor and hold sea battles. Later there where underground chambers added from which enormous sets could emerge. If you have ever watched “The Gladiator” starring Russell Crowe you might get an idea of how these stadiums were used for dramatic theatre. Events were free to all citizens. Senators had their names carved into the marble of their exclusive “podium seats.” Women could attend but were consigned to the nose bleed seats and believe me it would take a courageous lady to climb those steps!
The Romans loved their sports. Chariot racing was high on the list. They also had a craving for violence. Gladiator fights were often to the death. When Titus became emperor he held games in the Colosseum for 100 days and nights during which five thousand animals where slaughtered. These theatres were used as forums for public executions, a further entertainment for the masses. Those condemned to die would be pitted without weapons against wild animals. They had no chance. The floor was covered with sand to absorb all the blood.
During various persecutions, Christians would be executed in these theatres. Today there is a large cross in the Colosseum of Rome as a memorial to those men and women who lost their lives because they would not deny their faith.
The Colosseum is a monument in blood. It was built on the blood of the Jews and it was filled with the blood of the many other victims it claimed. May God have mercy on the civilization that learns to love such cruelty and violence.
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