Colosseum & Meta Sudans, Rome


ROMA – Anfiteatro Flavio e Colosseo con la meta sudante
Flavian Amphitheater and Colosseum with the Meta Sudans
Publisher: F. Fichter, Rome

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The Flavian Amphitheatre, more commonly known as the Colosseum, stands in the archaeological heart of Rome and welcomes large numbers of visitors daily, attracted by the fascination of its history and its complex architecture. The building became known as the Colosseum because of a colossal statue that stood nearby. It was built in the 1st century CE at the behest of the emperors of the Flavian dynasty. Until the end of the ancient period, it was used to present spectacles of great popular appeal, such as animal hunts and gladiatorial games. The building was, and still remains today, a spectacle in itself. It is the largest amphitheatre in the world, capable of presenting surprisingly complex stage machinery, as well as services for spectators.
Parco archeologico del Colosseo

Parco archeologico del Colosseo online resources

The Meta Sudans was a large monumental conical fountain in ancient Rome. The Meta Sudans was built some time between 89 and 96 under the Flavian emperors, a few years after the completion of the nearby Colosseum. It was built between the Colosseum and the Temple of Venus and Roma, close to the later Arch of Constantine, at the juncture of four regions of ancient Rome: regions I, III, IV, X (and perhaps II). A meta was a tall conical object in a Roman circus that stood at either end of the central spina, around which racing chariots would turn. The Meta Sudans had the same shape, and also functioned as a similar kind of turning point, in that it marked the spot where a Roman triumphal procession would turn left from the via Triumphalis along the east side of the Palatine onto the via Sacra and into the Forum Romanum itself.

Photos from the end of the 19th century show a conical structure of solid bricks next to the Arch of Constantine, surrounded by its own original, reflecting stone pool. The ruins of Meta Sudans survived until the 20th century. In 1936 Benito Mussolini had its remains wantonly demolished and paved over to make room for the new traffic circle around the Colosseum.

Wikipedia.

Arena of Nimes, France


NIMES. — Vie intérieure des Arenes. — ND
Published by  Levy & Neurdein, 1920s

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The Amphitheatre of Nîmes is a perfect illustration of the degree of perfection attained by Roman engineers in designing and constructing this type of extremely complex building. It demonstrates perfect symmetry: oval-shaped, it measures 133 metres long and 101 metres wide, with an arena of 68 by 38 metres. 21 metres high, its exterior façade comprises two floors of 60 superimposed arches and an attic, separated by a cornice. At the top, pre-drilled stones were positioned to overhang so that long poles could be hung over the arena. A huge canvas canopy was then attached to these poles, thereby providing protection for the spectators against the sun and bad weather. Originally, all the arcades on the ground floor were open to act as entrances or exits. There are certainly bigger Roman amphitheatres, but this one is the best preserved of all of them.

In Roman times, the monument could hold 24,000 spectators spread over 34 rows of terraces divided into four separate areas or maeniana. Each was accessed via a gallery and hundred of stairwells and passages called vomitories. This clever arrangement meant that there was no risk of bottlenecks when the spectators flooded in. The amphitheatre was designed so that everyone had an unrestricted view of the whole arena. Several galleries were located beneath the arena, and were accessed by trap doors and a hoist-lift system. As a result, the decorative effects, animals and gladiators could access the arena during the games.
Amphitheatre Of Nîmes, Maison Carrée, Tour Magne (official website)

In the sixth century, under the Visigoths, Nimes Arena began to play a military role. Transformed from a sports arena to a castle fortress or “castrum arena” complete with a moat, Nimes Arena was a sort of emergency shelter of the people of the town in the event of attack.

Nimes Arena would go on to play an even more elaborate role in the twelfth century when it became the seat of the viscounty of Nimes and home to a chateau. In the eighteenth century, this went even further with the establishment of a whole 700-strong village within its walls. It was only in 1786 that Nimes Arena began to be restored to its original grandeur.
Trip Historic

Following the fall of the Roman Empire, the arena was transformed into a fortress by the Visigoths. Many invasions ensued and threatened the security of the people of Nîmes who decided to take refuge in the amphitheatre, which was easy to defend. In the Middle Ages, the edifice became a veritable fortified village with wells, houses, two churches and even a castle, all of which Existed up to the 18th century. The place became insalubrious and in 1786, as part of a city rehabilitation project, the destruction of the houses and restoration of the amphitheatre was decreed. The first phase of the works was interrupted during the revolutionary period to be resumed during the Second Empire. In 1813, the Prefect of the Gard authorized the first bull races and the arena was soon able to return to its original function. The first Spanish running of the bulls took place in 1863.
Avignon & Provence.com

Public buildings, Pompeii, Italy

Master list of all posts for Pompeii


L’ Anfiteatro | Pompei
1900s
Publisher: E. Ragozino, Galleroa Umberto-Napoli

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Pompeii. Its history, buildings, and antiquities (1871), Chapter VIII The Amphitheatre

The amphitheatre is sited in the most easterly corner of the city, presumably because the area was still free of buildings at the time and because the earth fill against the city walls could be used to support the eastern part of the cavea. . . . The amphitheatre was used exclusively for sports, gladiatorial contests and spectacles involving wild beasts and drew crowds from the neighbouring area. Posters advertising the games and illustrating the programme appear frequently on the walls of Pompeii. The spectacles were passionately participated in by the crowds and various gladiators became highly popular, as witnessed by the inscriptions.

As with some sports today, support could be fanatical. During one particular gladiatorial contest in AD59, fighting broke out in the crowd between factions from the colonies of Pompeii and Nuceria. According to the historian Tacitus (Annals XIV, 17): ‘it arose at a show arranged by Livineius Regulus. During the exchange of taunts abuse led to stone throwing, and then swords were drawn. Many Nucerians were taken home wounded and mutilated; many bereavements, too, were suffered by parents and children… Livineius and others held responsible for the disorders were exiled.’ Because of the violence the Senate prohibited Pompeii from holding similar events for a period of ten years but this measure was revoked three years later after the earthquake of AD62.
AD 79: Destruction and Rediscovery


On the back:
The Basilica 

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AD 79: Destruction and Rediscovery

A Roman basilica was a large public building where business and legal matters were discussed. The basilica of Pompeii was built in 130-120 BC and is one of the oldest examples of such a building. It had three naves and it was situated at the south-western corner of the Forum; its entrance was on its eastern narrow side and its layout resembles that of an early church. A raised loggia at the western end of the building was most likely the site of the tribunal. Archaeologists believe it was preceded by wooden stairs. Two small rooms under the loggia might have been used as the temporary prison. Lawyers without customers, teachers without pupils, artists without commissions and other jobless citizens spent their days at the basilica hoping to find a way to make some money. Some of them, perhaps during a particularly idle day, wrote graffiti on the walls complaining they were not invited to dinner by anyone or that Venus did not help them in courting a woman, notwithstanding the offers they had made to the goddess.
Rome in the Footsteps of an XVIIIth Century Traveller


Pompei, Quartiere dei Soldati
Soldier Quarters

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