Ruins expose the underground network of tunnels
used for both gladiators and a parade of animals
including elephants, lions, buffalo and crocodiles.
After a series of disasters including the eruption
of Mt. Vesuvius, a huge fire in Rome and the plague,
Emperor Titus thought the people needed distraction.
Free to the public, these were some of the

first “organized” sports.
The Coloseum was the largest amphitheater in the
Roman Empire.  Built in 80 AD, it could hold over
50,000 bloodthirsty spectators watching gladiator
games, executions and re-enactments of famous
sea and land battles.  Half a million people died here

 in the name of entertainment – many Christians.
  Every Good Friday, the pope leads a procession
 through Rome that begins at the Colosseum.
Gladiators who fought well and
survived could be granted their
freedom.   They were athletic

 celebrities.  Women wanted them
to father their children.
A few of the most popular
 could even make a living as a
gladiator coach, to train future
Marble columns like this one graced the Colosseum.
Earthquakes, weather and pollution havetaken their toll. 

Wouldn’t you love to see the translation?
How did they turn the gladiator games
into a cheery children’s book that comes
with 300 stickers?!
Circo Massimo (Circus Maximus), with Roman ruins above.
This is where chariot races took place,
like in Ben Hur.  Now it’s a lovely green space.