Colosseum Visitors in Rome Allowed to Tour Tunnels
For many years visitors of Rome’s Colosseum have been able to stand where Roman spectators sat when they watched gladiators come out into the arena. But they have never been able to walk out through the tunnels of the Colosseum.
From 80 A.D. to the fifth century the greatest building of the Roman Empire was host to sea battles, horse races, dramas and other games. Highlights , however, were the fights of gladiators against other men and wild animals.
Now, for the first time, ground levels are open to visitors. You can walk into the arena and follow the footsteps of gladiators as they came in. You can also tour the underground tunnels where gladiators prepared themselves for the fights. It is hard to imagine how frightening these dark narrow tunnels were. Both sides had chambers full of wild animals, the air smelled of sweat . When they came out gladiators heard the loud thunder of 50,000 spectators in the arena.
The underground rooms were not just warming-up areas for gladiators. Hundreds of workers brought animals up to the ground level in wooden elevators , horses were kept in stables and objects for infantry and sea battles were kept there.
Highlight of the tour is a wooden platform in the middle of the arena, the same spot where thousands of animals and men were killed. Triumphant gladiators were applauded by spectators and won the king’s admiration . Those who lost hoped for mercy from the emperor , who decided if a gladiator should stay alive or be killed.
- A.D. = Anno Domini = after the birth of Jesus Christ
- admiration = respect
- applaud = clap your hands
- battle = fight between groups of people or groups of ships in a war
- century = a period of a hundred years
- chamber = room
- elevator = a machine that takes people and goods from one level to another
- emperor = the ruler of a very big country
- gladiator =a soldier who fought against other men or wild animals in ancient Rome
- ground level = the same level as the surface of the earth
- highlight = the best, most important or most interesting part of an event
- host = place where a special event takes place
- infantry = soldiers who fight on foot
- mercy = sympathy, to forgive
- narrow = not wide, thin
- spectator = a person who watches an event in a stadium or arena
- spot = place
- stable = place where you keep horses
- sweat = drops of liquid that come out of your skin when you are afraid or frightened
- thunder = roar, noise
- triumphant = successful, those who won
- warm-up = exercises that prepare you for an sport event