25 August 2011

Il Colosseo

This is a new feature inspired by one of my favorite blogs, Simply Colette.

I wanted to show some of my favorite pictures of my recent European trip, but I figured that such I just love history so much that I wanted to incorporate the two together in to this feature in order to show you snippets from my trip.

So today, I am starting with the amazing Colosseum in Rome, Italy.

Construction of the Colosseum began under the rule of Emperor Vespasian in 72 C.E. (same as A.D. but the academic term) and was completed in 80 C.E.  It is recounted that 9,000 wild animals were killed in the one hundred days of celebration which inaugurated the amphitheater opening.  The Colosseum was in continuous use until 217, when it was damaged by fire after a lightning strike.  Then, four earthquakes (in 442, 508, 847, and 1349) caused massive damage, resulting in the structure we see today.  During the Renaissance, the ruling Roman families used it as a source of marble for the construction of St. Peter's Basilica and in the palaces of Roman families, like the Barberini.
Pope Benedict XIV forbade the use of the Colosseum as a quarry and he consecrated the building to the Passion of Christ and installed Stations of the Cross, declaring it sanctified by the blood of the Christian martyrs who were though to have perished there.  Later Popes continued the historic preservation process.
Italy abolished the death penalty in 1948 and used the Colosseum today as a gesture against the death penalty around the world.  Local authorities will change the color of the night time illumination from white to gold whenever a person condemned to the death penalty anywhere in the world gets their sentence commuted or is released.
The Colosseum measures 157ft hight, 615ft long, and 510 wide.

Works Cited
Rome Sights 2011: a travel guide to the top 50 attractions in Rome, Italy. Includes three walking tours. Amazon Kindle: MobileReference, 2011.

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