The Roman Colosseum — Masterpiece of Stone and Brick

posted by Sharon March 31, 2015 20 Comments
Rome Colosseum

Another brick in the wall . . .
                          Pink Floyd

Where have I seen wall on wall of bricks? The title of this Pink Floyd song immediately brought to mind our visit to the Colosseum in Rome. So many bricks, so many walls, such a vast and fascinating place.

The Colosseum, a world landmark, sits in the middle of Rome, visited by masses of people year round. Construction started in AD 70 and finished about 20 years later. Today, this grand structure is officially a ruin. Stones, bronze, and bricks were “borrowed” through the years, leaving the Colosseum without some of the top level. The roof over the gladiator dressing area is long gone. The ruined nature of the Colosseum adds to the romance and intrigue.

Here’s a description of what went on here, according to the museum on site:

“The spectacle day began in the morning with the presentation of all the participants. This was followed by the hunts, in which hunters tackled wild animals lurking among sets replicating the geographical contexts from which they came. During the lunch interval, when executions took place, the condemned, naked, and unarmed faced the wild beasts which would eventually tear them to pieces. During the intervals there were performances by jugglers, acrobats, and magicians. . . . Finally, gladatorial combats were held in the afternoon.”

Here’s a rendering of what the Colosseum may have looked like in its heyday.

It’s evident that thousands upon thousands of bricks were laid in complex patterns.

The top level is being rebuilt. Scaffolding lines part of it, and a bit of it recently reopened to tourists.

A platform reaches over part of the bottom level and holds groups of people.

We were able to join a tour with this lovely Italian young lady as our guide.

She took us below the main level, where we got to picture what the gladiators saw as they entered the arena.

Our guide pointed out that some of the blocks and bricks overhead hold together without mortar. I think I walked pretty quickly under these freestanding giant stones, but they have been hanging there for centuries so far.

If you visit the Colosseum today, you learn that scholars are still trying to piece together its history. We know that people and animals died here, and that gladiators fought bravely, both by force and by choice. If only these bricks could talk, what stories they could tell . . .

How about you? Have you visited a historical place that piqued your imagination?

Linking up with Texture Tuesday, Wednesday Around the World, Life Thru the Lens, and Sweet Shot Tuesdays. Some photos are edited with Kim Klassen’s Lightroom preset Organic. Also linking up with the song-inspired party, Song-ography, where the song is “Another Brick in the Wall” by Pink Floyd. The song actually has nothing to do with real bricks, but I’m taking just the title for this post.

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20 Comments

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Tamar Strauss-Benjamin March 31, 2015 at 9:07 am

How amazing! I would love to see this historic building!

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Beverly March 31, 2015 at 11:49 am

What an intriguing place…I enjoyed reading about it, and love your pictures, especially the black and white near the bottom.

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Carol B. March 31, 2015 at 11:52 am

It’s wonderful that there are still parts of places like this around to show us what things were like back then. With the shabby quality of things that are built today, I dare say there might not be a trace of this generation when it’s all over.

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Nicki March 31, 2015 at 11:59 am

Mind boggling – the amount of bricks, the skill, the longevity. Amazing series of pictures of a stunning location.

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kim March 31, 2015 at 1:26 pm

These are so great! What a visual lesson in history!

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Abrianna March 31, 2015 at 2:22 pm

I really like the light and shadows in that first photo. If the walls could talk they would have many tales of woe.

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Mama Zen March 31, 2015 at 2:25 pm

Gorgeous shots!

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Catherine March 31, 2015 at 4:21 pm

Gorgeous captures of this stunning structure… I remember seeing it for the first (and only) time and how breath-taking it was in its scale and visualizing what it was like in its prime. Your closeups and black and whites are just wonderful. The gladiator view from the ground floor is a bit eery…

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Lisa @ SLP March 31, 2015 at 4:33 pm

“Another brick in the wall.” The more I read, the more I think you and I are kindred spirits, my mind goes right to that song as well :-). Thanks for this post. We did not make it to Rome… one of my biggest regrets. The other one? Scottland :-(. You should link this to Life Thru the Lens this week, over at my place… wink, wink :-D.

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Earl March 31, 2015 at 11:17 pm

Beautiful series of photos. My favorite is the wall of bricks. My father was a brick layer . . . he would have enjoyed seeing all the ancient brick.

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Buckeroomama April 1, 2015 at 12:44 am

The Colosseum is breathtaking in its grandeur, isn’t it? I remember feeling like I was standing on a piece of history when we were there. It’s definitely on our list of places to take the kids when they’re a bit older to appreciate the history of the place,

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Linda W April 1, 2015 at 3:24 am

Wow! What an amazing place! Your photos are superb. I felt as if I was there with you.

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Pieni Lintu April 1, 2015 at 7:16 am

Beautiful!!! <3

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kmcblackburn April 1, 2015 at 4:16 pm

You are right, the Colloseum truly is a masterpiece in stone and brick. Fabulous shots, love all the detail. Thanks for linking up to Song-ography.

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artmusedog and carol April 1, 2015 at 7:25 pm

Wonderful post and photography of a magnificent place ~ well done!

Happy Week to you,
artmusedog and carol

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Tom The Backroads Traveller April 2, 2015 at 2:01 pm

Thanks for the tour!

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barbara April 2, 2015 at 9:00 pm

Bella Roma!!! The black and White is my favorite! Thanks for sharing!

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Sarah C April 3, 2015 at 4:48 pm

Amazing detail. I can only imagine being there in its day!

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Molly April 3, 2015 at 5:53 pm

what an amazing slice of human history

Mollyxxx

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Lisa @ SLP April 3, 2015 at 7:26 pm

So glad you linked up… I’m going to feature this post on our Pinterest Board.

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