Thursday, April 17, 2008


At the time of the Roman Empire it was believed that Rome was the bedrock of the civilization and all others throughout out the world were considered the barbarians. Every time we go to Europe I am astounded by the incredibly long history they have compared to our brand new country. Although we have plenty to shutter about in our history, they have century after century after century of man's inhumanity to man to their discredit. Never fear though, I am sure we will catch up in due time.

When we went to Amsterdam and actually viewed the house where Anne Frank and her family and friends hid out during the Holocaust I was haunted by it all for a long time. To actually see her diary and the space and to imagine it all was very overwhelming and perplexing to us.

I had the same feelings of sadness and astonishment when we visited the Colosseum in Rome. Today this gigantic amphitheater lies partially in ruin due to earthquakes, vandalism and purposeful dismantling of the marble facade to build other structures like St. Peter's Basilica. Still enough remains to demonstrate the immensity of it and to visualize what transpired there.

The Colosseum was built in 80 A.D. and various accounts say it held between 50 and 80 thousand people. Think of how big that is when comparing it to the Conference Center in SLC or the Marriott Center at BYU.

The sole purpose of this structure was to provide entertainment to the people of Rome. It was actually a gift to the people from the Aristocracy. The initial weeks it was open, more than 10,000 animals were viciously killed in the arena for the enjoyment of all. For someone like me that is sickened by the sight of road kill or cringes at the snap of a mouse trap~this is unfathomable and I am not even a huge animal lover. This is where the ancient Romans quelled their thirst for incredible violence by watching the gladiators, criminals and others along with wild animals, fight to the death in every conceivable scenario. All the while cheering fans roared with excitement in this packed stadium. Sadly, this was a daily occurrence.

Of course you all know these things, but what really blew me away was to actually be there in the place where this really happened. It was both chilling and disturbing. It just gives it a new dimension in my mind all together, compared to when I just read of it in a history book from the comfort of centuries past and thousands of miles of separation.

The thought I am left with is that if the Romans considered themselves to be the only civilized society at the time~why did they live as such Barbarians? It seems a tad ironic. How can people with the divine nature we are born with turn into such savages? When you look at newborns and see the innocence they possess~what happens to us in our life that makes us capable of such evil carnage? I will just never get it, sorry!

What I did not realize is that there were at least 8 other amphitheaters similar to the Colosseum in Italy all with the same design and purpose. One is not far from where Robert and Laura live. Do you get this or is it just me?


Gail Victoria said...

I get it because we are all born with a sinful nature - so says the Bible.

If they considered themselves to be "civilized" just think what the "barbarians" must have been doing!

The question I have about the colleseum is this: If it held between 50,000 and 80,000 people, what did they use for bathrooms? I thank God for modern plumbing. That is civilized!