Continuing history with the Romans : Gladiators

DSC_0993 copy DSC_0995 copyAt the end of our Roman Soldier tour, we ended at a Roman Amphitheater.  These were used for shows with gladiators and wild animals fighting in front of thousands of people, cheering, enjoying their time while men fought for their lives.  Not my kind if entertainment, I guess.  I’m glad I didn’t live in Ancient Rome.DSC_0998 copyBut we got to meet someone special.  Brian, the best tour guide we could have asked for.  A modern Roman soldier with a PhD in Greco-Roman studies.  He knew so much and shared his knowledge in such an entertaining and easy way for all of us, of all ages, to understand and keep involved for an hour and half.  DSC_0992 copy

This is part of the stone Roman Amphitheater in Chester dating from the first century, that was discovered in 1929 when they were digging for a new construction.  They later realized there is more under earth, under new buildings, still being used.  So, only part of it is showing and displayed for all of us to enjoy and learn from.

DSC_1002 copyYou can see there below (where those people are walking around) is where the gladiators fought.  Yes… oh my goodness, 2,000 years ago, this is where they stood, fought, got injured, and died in front of a large audience.   Can’t even think of it as a show, or entertainment, but it was in the year 100 BC.  Crazy!

DSC_1006 copy DSC_1007 copyOur birthday girl is being taken to the front of the audience (us) to see how she did as a gladiatrixDSC_1012 copyWhere the seats were.

DSC_0002 copyAmphitheater walls. 

DSC_0004 copyAn entrance to the middle of the amphitheater.  I could almost see the gladiators coming in… 

DSC_0016 copy DSC_0015 copy DSC_0001 copyIt felt funny going to the middle of the amphitheater… I imagine not as large as it actually was 2,000 years ago, and of course, no lions or crocodiles or tigers chasing me, but it felt intense.  I wonder what it would have been like with the noise and the people cheering…DSC_0017 copyA replica altar to Nemesis.  DSC_0009 copySiena’s jumping as part of her swimming team’s practice.  DSC_0012 copyWe survived! Something to celebrate.  And I guess if we were back in time, a couple thousand years, we would be like today’s actors… and for sure not wearing shorts and a t-shirt and tennis shoes.  But probably happy to have survived.

DSC_0007 copyThis amazing 2,000 year old Roman Amphitheater, where gladiators and gladiatrix (not sure of the plural) fought for their lives, maybe there were lions and crocodiles in these sands, now just few feet away there is a Travelodge hotel.  Seriously!  My head hurts just thinking of the normality of this place.  Of all these amazing, historical places we were lucky to have seen this past summer.

What is it 2,000 years ago? One thousand seems modern at times.  Now, I am rethinking if our 100 year old home (in the Pacific NW of the US) is actually historic… I guess it is all in perspective, right?  But even for the US, a new-ish country, 40 presidents and few hundreds years of history is just a brief moment in our world’s history.

DSC_1010 copyThank you Ros for a wonderful birthday present idea.  We had such a great time.  And as we study Ancient Rome these days, we go back to these pictures and remember the details and the stories we heard.  Because, yes, our great Roman Soldier convinced our gladiatrix that Ancient Rome should be the first thing we study this fall.   DSC_1011 copy

Phew, she’s saved.  But I guess I already gave it away with more recent pictures in the blog.  Still, we were a little worried there for few minutes.


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