Legacies from the Roman World: The Amphitheatre

Violence was a common sight in the Roman world, in the towns and cities amphitheatres put on great spectacles of blood and gore, gladiators fought each other (not always to the death) and wild beasts from across the known world.

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Fig 1: Even today crowds are drawn to the arena

Today in Spain and parts of southern France bullfighting is still common. Indeed in the French town of Arles people still watch violent spectacles in the ancient arena. While obviously people do not still fight to the death, similarities can be found from Roman mosaics in Libya which depict gladiators fighting bulls. Clearly some things have not changed!

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Fig.2 A mosaic from Libya depicting a bull

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Fig.3 The impressive remains of the amphitheatre at Arles

Author: Jeremy Hallatt

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