The Roman Coliseum, November 2011

On the night before we went to the Coliseum in Rome, I charged my camera battery underneath the desk in our hotel room. As in any typical hotel room, there were no other electrical plug-ins to be found, and I figured that at least if I had to stash the charger out of sight, I wouldn’t get up and step on it in the middle of the night. Before bedtime, I placed my camera, sans battery, right next to my alarm clock and eyeglasses. I figured if I saw the camera first thing the next morning, I’d remember to take the battery out of the charger and put it back into the camera.

Of course none of this worked. I woke up the next morning, had some tea, brushed my teeth, grabbed my camera, and went off in search of the Coliseum. That entire day, my fully charged camera battery sat underneath the desk back in the stupid hotel room, while I walked around Rome with a camera that didn’t have a battery.

My mom, who I was traveling with, thought this was sort of funny and she loaned me her camera for the day. She’s not so crazy about taking pictures on vacation because she says she gets so busy taking pictures that she misses actually seeing stuff. I know I’ve done this before, too, so I try to temper myself and not take as many pictures as I’d like to. The problem with this plan is that if I don’t have a few pictures to look at, I don’t believe I actually saw something later on. I am sure I saw the Coliseum, however, because here are a few shots:

A close-up, with the sun shining through from the other side

Inside the Coliseum

One post-Rome note about Christianity and the Coliseum:  We had reservations at the Coliseum with a tour guide, a knowledgeable gentleman who we really enjoyed. For instance, he told us that most Italians don’t like Pope Benedict because he’s so conservative, and since he’s German, the Romans refer to him as “the German Shepherd.” Heh, heh. About the Coliseum, this guide said that the Emperor Constantine put an end to the bloodshed of wild animal hunting and gladiator fighting in the Coliseum, and he did so in the name of Christianity:  naturally, Christians aren’t supposed to just kill others for sport.

So, I was really impressed with Constantine until I came home and googled around for more information. Well, guess what? The Coliseum was used for human gladiator fights until the early 5th century, and (imprisoning, starving, and) killing wild animals up until the mid-6th century. Constantine died in 337. In all of internetland, I can’t find one mention of Constantine stopping fighting in the Coliseum. In fact, here’s an account that I found several places:

     The Decline of the Colosseum started when the Gladiatorial games were stopped. The last known gladiatorial fight took place during the reign of the Emperor Honorius (reigned 393 – 423AD). The catalyst for this change was was an Egyptian monk named Telemachus who had newly come to Rome and visited the Colosseum in 404AD. He objected to the savage bloodshed and slaughter in the arena and the midst of the bloodshed shouted for it to cease in the name of Christ. He was stoned by the outraged ‘mob’ and killed. Three days later the Emperor issued a decree that the gladiatorial games were to stop. Less violent events such as hunting events continued to be shown until 523AD.

So, while Constantine urged tolerance of Christianity, he didn’t stop the carnage. Let’s not give the great “Christian” leader credit for something he clearly didn’t do.

This entry was posted in Catholic Church, Italy, My Photographs, Recovering Catholic, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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