URBEM FECISTI - COLOSSEUM | Bed and Rome and Breakfast - 3 B&B in Rome

giovedì 4 ottobre 2018


The articles of the series Urbem Fecisti are dedicated to the way Rome has shaped the modern world, to its modernity. It's a fact that Roman Empire is still living inside each of us in the western world and not only.

I haven't written too much about the Colosseum till now, even if it is the symbol of Rome, one of the most famous landmarks in the world and one of the New Seven Wonders.

Indeed, it is too famous amd there are plenti of ariticles and books about it, so I can't add too much

I decided to write something after one of my last posts, URBEM FECISTI - REFOUNDING THE EMPIRE, somehow to complete it, because the Colosseum marks a turning point of the empire.

Rome became a republic on 509 BC when the last king, Tarquinius the Superb, was driven out of the city.  The republican institutions were based on a balance of powers between aristocratic and popular classes, between the Senate, which was accessed by censorship, and elective charges that obviously needed popular support.
That unstable equilibrium survived for four centuries. By the end of the II century BC, when Rome became the almost unique power of the Mediterranean, it started to fail, at the moment it was necessary to sgare the profits of the conquers. The conflict took place essentially between two parties, the populares (popular) and the optimates (aristocrats)
The result was almost one century of civil wars that found their end when Octavianus, later Augustus, defeated Marcus Antonius becominng the only master of Rome.
Augustus was the perfect solution for his equidistance. He was supported by the populares but at the same time he belonged to one of the most ancient and aristocratic families or Rome,  the gens Julia.

The Julia-Claudia dinasty that started with Augustus ended with Nero.
A short civil war that followed the suicide of Nero ended up with the victory of Vespasian. He was coming from the province and from a family not belonging to the aristocracy but to the equestrian order. That marked a first significant change of the empire, even if more than 200 years were necessary to reach the point that required its refoundation with Constantine.
The construction of the Flavina Amphiteatre, the Colosseum, was iconic of that change.
The Colosseum was built where previously there was the artificial lake of the grandiose Domus Aurea, the residence of Nero. Close to the lake there was a gicantic statue, the Colossus of Nero, and from that it came the name Colosseum.
Arch of Constantine
Anyhow, on the side of the Colosseum, now ther is the triumphal Arch of Constantine, celebrating his victory over Massentius in the battle of the Milvian Bridge. And, as we wrote in the previous post, Emperor Constantine I refounded the empire on totally different bases. Probably it has not been a case that those two symbols are so close.

And probably the symbolism is the reason why I prefer to look at the Colosseum from the outside while I have never been so much interested to visit it internally. But that is just my vision and I am from Rome, so I always think "it stands there since 2000 years, it will be there also tomorrow, so I will go there tomorrow".


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