A Long Weekend in Rome - 2002

25th February 2002 - Rome (Coliseum)

The one thing I had to see in Rome and I wasn't disappointed. Things I didn't know about the Coliseum. I discovered that the Ludi Circenses were the favourite shows of the Romans (games that were invented in the last days of the Republic to develop a war-like spirit which had made them the conquerors of the world.) Thus, the professional gladiators came into being, and they were trained to fight to the death. As time moved on, the kinds of animals the gladiators had to fight became more and more wild. It is said that "9000 wild animals were killed during the hundred days of festivity to celebrate the dedication of the Coliseum." The area was also used to stage naval battles. In order to accomplish this, they would flood the arena! Constantine and his successors did try to stop the gladiatorial fights but to no avail. The Romans would not give up their favourite form of entertainment. They changed the fights to an animal hunt about the 6th century. I can just imagine how marvellous this amphitheatre was in its glory days. We are all lucky that at least some of this historical structure has endured and is still the pride of Rome and a must see for visitors to marvel at.

26th February 2002 - Rome (The Vatican)

Trip to The Vatican. It's an impressive church but not being religious I was left with an 'And...' feeling. As with anything Catholic it's so hypocritically extravagant. They make collections for the poor whilst owning an amazing building like this packed full of treasures. Surely if the Catholic Church really wanted to do some real good it would liquidate some of its assets and give it where its most needed. No chance of that ever happening they're far too used to the trappings of wealth, charity may begin at home but for the Church not that close to home.