Sunday, February 19

Sunday in Rome we woke up and loaded the bus with our luggage.  We took a short bus tour and then ended at the triumphal Arch of Constantine right in front of the Colosseum near Palatine Hill.  It commemorates Constantine's victory in 312 AD over the army of Maxentius.  The arch was then walked through to celebrate their triumphant victory.  It is the last great monument of Imperial Rome.  Constantine actually believed that his victory was a result of the help of the Christian God.  So, as a result, during his reign, the persecution of the Christians ended. Thus, Christianity became the official religion in the Roman Empire.  The arch of Constantine wasn't destroyed and recycled for parts because of the kindness he showed to the Christian people of his kingdom.

Pretty neat.

Next we toured the Colosseum.  As the guide put it, "The Romans were crazy".  They used the free entertainment in the Colosseum to basically control their people.  That way the people would not rebel against the rulers and the ridiculous taxation of the time.  They were basically slaves to the rich and were given free entertainment to keep them from complaining.  The Colosseum was built from 70-80 AD, it only took 10 years.  Construction began under Vespasian, and finished under Titus.  Later it was modified under the reign of Domitian.  They think the name Colosseum came from the colossal golden statue of Nero that was later modified by adding a crown to become the sun god.  This statue survived until medieval times and all that remains today is the massive platform it stood on.  As you all know it hosted gladiatorial shows.  They had hidden doors and even elevators to allow new aspects into the games.  The Hunger Games is actually a futuristic take on the ancient Roman games.  So if you thought that was sick and how could that ever happen?  It did.

From there we went to tour through ruins of an old palace and ancient Roman civilization called the Roman Forum.  We made it to the top of the hill where there was an amazing view overlooking all the ruins left from ancient Rome. Our tour guide explained a lot about what the buildings used to be and how they were used or who lived there.  Unfortunately, I do not remember all those details.  However, if you go to Rome it would be worth paying for a tour guide through ancient Rome.  Also, most of my descriptions above are fact checked with wikipedia so I could remember what the guide taught us on the tours.  I just wanted to write about the things that fascinated me most.

Here are my images! Enjoy!