Rome's Colosseum - The Inaugural Games

To kill a man for no reason, and just because it was expected of him in a game, was extremely difficult. But gladiators were not free men, including those who had sold themselves under contract. When ordered to kill their opponents, gladiators were forced to carry out such directives.

Vespatian anticipated that gladiators would fight in the new Roman arena, but it was not yet finished when the emperor died in 79 A.D. Although he did not live to see his fondest dream realized, Vespatian would be celebrated in the arena's inaugural games. His son, the new emperor Titus, would see to it.

But in the spring of 80, Rome experienced a major setback. Before the amphitheater opened, a great fire raged for three days and nights. The year before, Vesuvius had destroyed Pompeii. Citizens began to wonder: Was Titus disfavored by the gods?

The Colosseum, untouched by the fire, gave Titus a way to restore the people's confidence in him. He arranged that tickets to the inaugural games would be free. While women took their normals seats (the worst available places in arenas), citizens of Rome gathered for the spectacle.

To make the games utterly fantastic, Titus wanted more than human performers. He wanted to include wild animals in the slate of events. For that, he needed a beast master who would train animals to do what was unnatural for them. In front of a screaming crowd they were expected to attack, then eat, people. It was a way for criminals to meet their end.

Media Credits

This video clip is from the BBC's documentary drama Colosseum: A Gladiator's Story.  Copyright, BBC, all rights reserved.  Clip provided here as fair use for educational purposes and to acquaint new viewers with the program.  Online, courtesy BBC Worldwide Channel at YouTube. 


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"Rome's Colosseum - The Inaugural Games" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Nov 18, 2019.
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