Seneca and The Coliseum

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Lucius Annaeus Seneca was the tutor and advisor of the emperor Nero in ancient Rome. He was a Roman philosopher, statesman, orator, and tragedian. Similarly to Aristotle, he believed that man’s unique good was virtue and happiness. (Aristotle and His “Ideas”). That a good man should conduct himself with virtuous doings in order to pursue happiness. However, he ended up committing suicide by force.

He was never that original, most of what he said and wrote came from the inspiration of others like Aristotle. Influential or not, Seneca remains as an important figure in Roman history.

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In the center of Rome, Italy lies the elliptical amphitheater called the Coliseum. It is considered one of the greatest works of Roman architecture and engineering.

The Coliseum was used for gladiatorial contests, to mock sea battles, for animal hunts, executions, re-enactments of famous battles, and dramas based on classical mythology. Then, it was later used as housing, workshops, quarters for religious order, a fortress, a quarry, and a Christian shrine.

With 189 meters long, and 156 meters wide, and a base area of 24,000 square meters, it is the largest amphitheater in the world, estimated to be able to hold between 50,000 and 80,000 spectators. The height of its outer wall is 48 meters, and its perimeter was originally measured to be 545 meters, where the central arena is an oval of 87 meters long and 55 meters wide, surrounded by a wall of 5 meters high, above each rose tiers of seating. However, the Coliseum has suffered extensive damage over the centuries, and with it large segments have collapsed.

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Nevertheless, the surviving part of the outer wall’s comprises three stories of superimposed arcades surmounted by a podium where stands a tall attic. In which both are pierced by windows interspersed at regular intervals. Each of the arches in the second and third floors arcades framed statues, which are believed to be figures from classical mythology.

The amphitheater was surrounded by 80 entrances, in which each was numbered, as well as each staircase. Also, the hypogeum was connected by underground tunnels to a number of points outside the Coliseum. Some tunnels were for animals and performers, and there was a specific tunnel for the Emperor and the Vestal Virgins to permit them to enter and exit the Coliseum without needing to pass through the crowds.

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The Coliseum is a very important piece of art from the Romans according to many historians and other people, because we are able to see what they worshipped, what they thought, and what they practiced. There are many more details about the Coliseum, but it is too extensive to mention here. However, art is a very influential material, that if it is used in the right way, millions of lives can be changed.

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Categories: Western Civilization 1 | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Seneca and The Coliseum

  1. we need a reenactment!

    Liked by 1 person

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