View Page: The Colosseum: Power, Brilliance, and Brutality
University of Washington Honors Program in Rome

The Colosseum: Power, Brilliance, and Brutality
Section Five 5 of 7

A Modern Analogy
Much like the Colosseum, Safeco Field has a retractable roof, is named after something powerful, and does not have a single seat with a bad view. It also has luxury boxes where the upper classes sit.
Today’s stadiums closely resemble the architecture and function of the Colosseum. The Colosseum was named after the Flavian emperors that presided over its construction much like today’s stadiums are named after large corporations or business magnates. Spectators were segregated by social class similar to how there are luxury boxes and courtside seats for the upper classes today and “nosebleed seats” for the lower classes.

The Colosseum represents the power, brilliance, and brutality of the Roman Empire. The sheer size of the Colosseum, its architectural design, and its function are still marvels to behold today. However, what took place on stage with the systematic killing of hundreds of thousands animals and people bears a grim reminder of the violence and cruelty that is core to the history of the Colosseum and the Roman Empire.

The mystery and marvel of the Colosseum has made it the centerpiece of Rome and a milestone in human achievement. As the oracle of the Venerable Bede put it, “When the Colosseum stands firm, Rome too sands firm; when the Colosseum falls, Rome too falls; when the Colosseum falls, both Rome and the world will fall.”