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ANCIENT ROME RISE AND FALL

the Romans vast empire, which spread over three continents lasted for 1101 years, Rome’s complex political institutions began to crumble under the weight of the growing empire.




The Roman Empire was one of the most powerful empires in history. Its reach extended throughout Europe, into Africa, and as far as Asia. But how did Romans become such a dominant force? And what made them different from other civilizations in their day? In this book, we'll look at some of the critical moments that shaped Rome into what it was when it finally fell: how they rose to power and stayed there for so long. The Roman Empire began in the eighth century B.C. when a group of people known as Latins formed settlements and eventually turned into a city called Rome. The city was ruled by two kings, elected by the Senate (essentially a group of powerful men). The Romans conquered other peoples and became an empire that stretched from Spain to Turkey. Their armies were so strong that they could take on several enemies at once—and win!


“The fall of Rome was completed in 476, when the German chieftain Odoacer deposed the last Roman emperor of the West, Romulus Augustulus. The East, always richer and stronger, continued as the Byzantine Empire through the European Middle Ages.”



The Roman Empire was the most powerful political entity in Western Europe, and its rise to power has been attributed to several factors:

Rome's location at the center of several major trade routes allowed it to expand economically and socially. Romans were farming people who valued labor over leisure and were able to build substantial wealth through agriculture and trade. When Rome overthrew their kings in 509 BC, they established a republic with two consuls (a type of official) who held equal power. The consuls had authority over military matters and foreign policy; they also led religious rituals related to warfare, such as sacrifices before battle or upon returning home victorious from war. Finally, this combination of factors led Romans into conflict with neighboring territories—invading other lands led by conquest or threat of force until surrounding peoples became vassals under their rule.


The Roman Republic was ruled by a senate whose members were elected by the people. The Senate had great power over all aspects of the Roman government, including foreign policy and military decisions. However, the Senate was only sometimes unified in its beliefs. It was divided among many different political parties and factions that were often at odds with each other over fundamental issues like foreign policy and how to treat conquered peoples Caesar's conquest of Gaul led him into conflict with Pompey (the leader of one faction). Caesar then turned his army against Pompey on the field at Pharsalus in Greece in 48 B.C. and defeated him there, making himself master of Rome itself.




The Romans started as farming people who grew into one of the most powerful military forces in history. You may be surprised to learn that Rome was not built in a day. The early Romans were farmers but also warriors who mastered the art of warfare and other people in history. It took over four centuries of steady progress from an agricultural society to become the capital of an empire that spanned most of Europe and much of Asia. The story begins with Romulus and Remus, twin brothers born to the god Mars and a human woman named Rhea Silvia, who was herself already pregnant with twins by Mars' brother Neptune (or perhaps Vulcan). When their father heard about this affair with his wife Rhea Silvia, he tried to kill both boys out of jealousy but were saved by wolves who raised them until humans found them again when they were adults. Once grown up, Romulus killed his brother Remus because he wanted all the power for himself; then he built walls around what would become Rome so nobody could escape it without him knowing about it! Romans became famous for building massive walls around cities, including their own one, which still stands today." The Romans are known for many things, including their engineering feats and their quest for empire. They were able to build roads, bridges, and aqueducts that would last for years after they were destroyed by invaders. The Roman Empire lasted for over 500 years before it fell apart due to internal problems within Rome and external threats from barbarian tribes surrounding the city walls.





Chapter one-

MILITARY ENGINEERS


Building projects in Ancient Rome were colossal in their scale. The construction projects are interwoven with tales of ambition, conquest, love, murder, and the power of unrivaled technology. The Roman Empire couldn’t have been built without these cornerstones. An egoistic culture drove them. A series of palaces, roads, and aqueducts connected three continents, unleashing the power of civilization’s most advanced phase. Rome’s ideas and culture even became embodied in stadiums called coliseums. While the Romans built massive structures to dominate the landscape. Ultimately, they could not prevent themselves from self-destructing. During the Roman Senate’s session on March 15th, 44 B.C., one of the world’s most powerful men lay lifeless on the floor. Caesar Gaius Julius was his name. It was under his command that the Roman Empire nearly doubled in size. As a politician, he ascended to power stunningly. It was now the Romans who had slain this battle-scared warrior. Caesar rose to power because of his desire to be the best in the Roman state. His desire for power seemed excessive. His passion was not shared with others, despite his passion it was in this direction that he was assassinated. In Rome, Caesar’s Road to glory began on battlefields, where he recognized his ambition as a young general. Rome’s most impressive engineering feat would be spawned by his thirst for military conquest. In 55 BCE. Eight Roman legions were under the command of Julius Caesar. Through Gaul, 40,000 men headed north. France, Belgium, and Switzerland were part of a Roman province. Because no Roman commander had crossed the Rhine yet, he wanted to go to Germany and cross it. Unlike Alexander the Great, he aimed to surpass the known and be as great as him. Over ten times the size of Caesar’s own army, the Germanic forces were estimated at 430,000. The Germans fled to higher ground as the Roman legions rolled over the Rhine. By bridge building and engineering prowess Cesar explored the territory north of the Rhine for 18 days without resistance. As soon as he had made his point, he crossed his homemade bridge again and dismantled it. Symbolically at that point, Caesar proved there is no limit to where Rome can go. A single-minded ambition was clear in Caesar’s Bridge. He would achieve unprecedented power a decade later because of that ambition. He would also suffer a downfall because of it. Rome’s first dictator for life was declared when he was 55. The Roman Senate halls echoed with whispers of assassination in 44 B.C. His actions suggest that he might have wanted to be worshiped as a god and that his ambition went way beyond what the Romans themselves, particularly Roman senators, felt was acceptable, which led to his assassination. The political landscape of Rome was forever altered by Julius Caesar during his lifetime. The perils and potentials of absolute power would be present in his death. In the aftermath of Caesar’s assassination, nothing but the complete collapse of Rome seemed likely. Beyond the Rhine River, nothing can be known. Throughout history, the Rhine has protected Germanic tribes from Roman expansion. There has never been an army that could cross it with the majesty needed to conquer it. Bu there was never a warrior like Caesar before. He could have traveled by boat, but what’s the point? A rowboat was highly restrictive, and with a Roman war machine, technically competent why not build a massive bridge? It was an engineering feat that was completely new in its scope to cross the Rhine. There is a 1000-foot width and 25-30-foot depth to the river, and there is no sign of its currents. To march a legion across the Bridge, Caesar and his engineers had to design a structure that was incredibly strong, stable, and large enough to carry a legion. To support the weight of 40,000 soldiers, a bridge four football fields long would be required. Although rain, river depth and strong currents threatened to defeat Julius Caesar, he was determined to succeed. Bridges that cross rivers of that size were famous at home with roman audiences. However, the audience standing on the other side of the river were awestruck when they saw his accomplishment. Caesar’s soldiers transformed local timber into an expanding bridge like well-oiled machinery. A new engineering miracle came closer to achieving the line’s elusive goal every hour. Wooden piles were driven into the river’s bedrock to form the Bridge’s foundation. As you approached the middle of the Bridge, the bundles were each a foot and a half thick. To reach the bottom by driving the piles diagonally, they had to be up to 30 feet tall, the Bridge was strengthened by Caesar’s engineers with angular pilings driven into the ground and connected. They were building a sawhorse with angled legs and using force to prevent it from falling over as carpenters do. Because of the angular part, he was much more robust in dealing with the river’s force, flooding, etc. Driving them into the riverbed is much more complex than conducting a vertical path. To push them into the riverbed, they must have used wooden frames carefully. There was a 40-foot lean toward the current on the upstream side of the piles. A current was flowing against the corresponding banks. Two-foot-thick connecting beams connected each set of piles. The beams were then covered with timber planks. A tightly wrapped bundle of sticks finished the surface. Innovation was evident in the design of the Bridge itself. This engineering feat was made even more impressive by its rapid construction. After ordering the construction of his Bridge, Caesar marched across it toward his fate ten days later. With today’s technology, we can only build something like that in a few days. Thousands of sweating, loyal soldiers could match that feat today if we had the goal of crossing the Rhine River to terrorize the Germans beyond. Roman political history was rewritten during Caesar’s reign. The Roman influence spread to Gaul after he conquered it. He ended the Roman Republic, which was ruled by senators and councils elected democratically. Tyrannical emperors could rule with absolute authority under an empire born of tyranny. It is not uncommon for some people to use their power to construct magnificent engineering marvels. The Empire would collapse because of the vanity, excess, and ignorance of others. Through it all, Rome would become one of the most powerful and technologically advanced civilizations in history. Today there is a clash of ancient and modern in Rome in the 21st century. The immense mixture of periods in Rome is immediately apparent to anyone who has visited. It’s stupendous to experience Rome because you’re surrounded by one of the greatest civilizations that humanity has ever known. The City of Rome is named for Romulus, who killed Remus. According to legend, the city was founded in 753 B.C. after a she-wolf abandoned and raised two brothers. Their plan was to build their own city along the Tiber River. It ended in murder after a disagreement about who should rule it. A new Roman ruler would not be the last to emerge from bloodshed. Roman state growth was characterized by civil wars. Rome’s history reverberates and is echoed by the story of Romulus and Remus. In the early days of Rome’s existence, countless small kingdoms were contending for power in central Italy. Unlike its neighbors, Rome welcomed ambitious outcasts, while many of its neighbors’ regarded outsiders with suspicion. According to Romulus. The lack of population makes it necessary for him to create an asylum. The Romans were very open from the beginning, so they made a free zone for runaway servants, brigands, pirates, and whoever wanted to join this great idea called Rome. Because of this openness, ideas were freely exchanged. Engineering theories imported from other cultures were among them. Etruscan technology helped Rome become a regional power. It was extraordinary how the Romans adapted and improved upon technology from the past for their own purposes. The Etruscans could have developed road-building technology, tunneled water systems, built massive walls, and manufactured something based on Etruscan technology. The Cloaca Maxima is still a working sewer system two thousand years after its construction. Runoff from Rome’s city streets was flushed into the Tiber River by the Cloaca Maxima. Rome’s hilltop villages were also drained by the sewer’s underground pipeline. This procedure made the Forum possible, which was built in the downtown area of ancient Rome. A critical event in the transformation of Rome from a collection of tribes living around a swampy marsh to a centralized, unified culture was the construction of the Cloaca Maxima. Draining the cloaca maxima created the new Roman Forum, where both cultures could merge. While Rome’s culture blended, its influence grew over its neighbors. The Roman Empire controlled most of central Italy by the fourth century BCE, and its engineers were asked to expand its transportation infrastructure. Antiquity had two dominant modes of transportation. There were no roads before the Roman Empire, as we understand them today. Various modes of transportation were used in the countryside, such as horseback, walking, carts, and ships. In 312 B.C., all that changed thanks to the Appia. From Rome’s capital to Campania, its first national highway stretched 132 miles. Surveying was done by Roman engineers using specialized instruments. Calculate the straightest and fastest coast-to-coast route. The challenge is building a straight, quiet road when you cross hills and valleys. A Grohman tool was used in Roman times to align two points, a vertical pole with a cross on top. Roman roads were all dead straight, so they would turn at a sharp angle and then turn dead straight the other way. Modern roads turn at a sharp angle, so they’re all dead straight. As a result, they would cut through the mountains if they had to. As soon as the ideal path had been cleared, a large trench was dug, filled with sand and boulders, and laid as a solid foundation. Following that, a layer of compacted gravel was applied. Water could drain off to the side of the area because of the thick paving stones layered on top. There was something incredibly intimidating about the roads. You might wonder how long it would take a couple of legions, 10,000 personnel, to come down this road. When Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 B.C., Rome controlled most of Western Europe and North Africa. The country had defeated Carthage a century earlier, becoming the only superpower in the Mediterranean region. Caesar’s great-nephew, Octavian, succeeded Caesar as the first Emperor, taking the name Augustus. As Augustus expanded the Roman Road Network, it reached the farthest corners of the Empire. New destinations needed to be built after highways were paved. Roman-style cities equipped with forums, theaters, amphitheaters, basilicas, and all other Roman city markers popped up everywhere under Augustus. In honor of the province’s newly conquered natives. Roman life was endorsed by the new cities. These new cities would be symbols of civilization, higher living standards, and incredible jobs, and people would flock to them. There was money to be found there. People would go where the jobs are, as they do today. In the end, the conquered nations would really embrace these Roman ideas. There was no better image-creating device than the Roman city itself. Rome’s culture spread through its cities to London, Bonn, and Paris, among others. They still exist today. Pat Salama, a waterproof concrete mixed with volcanic sand, was Rome’s secret weapon for building bigger, stronger, and faster than anyone else. Although early concretes were set, they were not very strong, and their particles could easily break apart. Porcelain sand, however, reacts with lime in Roman concrete. Compared to modern concrete, it makes concrete much more substantial. As soon as they realized they could construct underwater with the substance, they developed an incredible invention, allowing them to construct enormous piers. It would be possible to build bridges, revolutionizing travel. Rather than wooden bridges, those would be permanent ones. With massive, manufactured monoliths, Roman builders dominated the landscape during the age of Augustus, solidifying Rome’s monopoly on Western Europe. Rome’s daily life would be revolutionized by one invention for centuries to come. By the first century ad, Rome was the sole superpower in Europe. Besides expanding their Empire outward, the Romans improved the quality of life within their capital city by using their superior engineering skills. Running water was the most life-altering achievement of Roman engineers. Water distribution was revolutionized by the new system. From Mountain Springs miles away, 11 aqueduct lines delivered fresh water to the capital city, carrying 200 million gallons daily. With its enormous population, Rome had a lot of water available. A constant stream of water contributed to a new urban culture fostered by the aqueducts. It was possible to live comfortably and cleanly in the capital city for up to a million people. Your city can be kept clean by aqueduct water flushing out human filth. Besides being cleaner than everyone else, the Romans believed they were superior. For the aqueducts to succeed, no single emperor could be credited. Over several centuries, they were built. The disfigured, stuttering emperor Claudius most affected Rome’s water supply. Claudius was a royal laughingstock before he took power, considered an invalid and hidden from public view. Having trouble hearing, Claudius was a troublesome person to deal with. There was a stutter in Claudius’ speech. His limp was a little noticeable. In 41 AD, Claudius’ nephew Caligula’s bloody reign was avenged by murdering most of the royal family. Claudius was spared after his life was on the line when he was found cowering behind a curtain. Claudius could seize power despite his shortcomings when an unlikely opportunity presented itself. Praetorian guards were bribed to proclaim him Emperor by him. Roman history would be changed by his timely bribe. Clearly, he wasn’t stupid. As soon as he became emperor, he seemed in charge. Several incredible achievements were made by the Empire during Claudius’ reign. Julius Caesar could not conquer Britannia with his legions. He also built two major aqueducts back home, the Aqua Claudia and Anion Novus, which soared water flow into Rome. It’s Not that complicated in theory to build an aqueduct. To run water from one area to another, you must run it down the slope to the lowest level. That’s a simple premise most people would understand, but constructing an aqueduct is a different story. Roman aqueducts approached cities at a gradual, declining angle or gradient. There was only a gradient of a few inches for every 100 feet. From the water source in the mountains to the cities themselves, aqueduct slopes had to be calculated over distances of 20, 30, and sometimes even 40 miles. No matter how rugged the terrain was, they could not deviate from the plan. Consistency was required. A Roman engineering concept was perfected to save building materials while adding strength to walls higher than six and a half feet. Water was carefully guided through high mountains by archaic engineers digging perfectly angled tunnels. Stone walls elevated pipelines that reached low valleys. Arches revolutionized ancient architecture by enabling much greater spans than was previously possible. As a result, Roman architecture was preconceived in terms of space. A temporary wooden framework held each stone until the Keystone was laid in the center. Besides dispersing weight down the arch sides, the Keystone allowed builders to stack additional rocks above it. Arches are strong enough to support roofs, aqueducts, and whatever else you want to build over them. Arches, of course, require a lot less material to construct. Across the valleys, the Aqueduct Claudia was carried by six miles of arches. When the top of the aqueduct was taken off, you could see the water flowing like an open river toward the city. It was a well-aught concept to pay for running water for the emperor and other wealthy Romans who used the public baths and the emperor’s private baths. Three holding tanks were emptied after each aqueduct reached the city. Every home had running water by the first or second century A.D. This is amazing, since there was no running water during the Middle Ages. Rome’s water distribution system was revitalized by Emperor Claudius. Although he had a successful public record, his choices in his private life would ultimately bring him down. His marriage to Agrippina, Caligula’s conniving sister, sent shockwaves through the Empire. Besides being ambitious and famous, Agrippina was a powerful and influential woman. Her age was that of Cleopatra. She had a strong sense of self. Her pride was clear. Her ambitions were high. Ambition was the ultimate hallmark of her character. Having grown up surrounded by emperors, Agrippina craved power. To achieve it, she used all her physical and political charms. She used her only son to perpetuate her spell on the aging Claudius. His primary purpose was to seduce Claudius and become the Empress to ensure that her son would agree to the throne. Claudius named Agrippina’s son from a previous marriage as his heir in 50 A.D. instead of his biological child. Emperor Claudius died four years later after being poisoned by a mushroom and his wife’s ambition. Overnight, Agrippina became the mother of a new emperor. The 16-year-old tyrant, Nero, who had engineered disaster as a tyrant in training. Rome was reduced to ashes by an inferno that lasted for a week and left thousands homeless. One of Rome’s most devastating fires was the fire of 64. There are reports that at least ten of Rome’s 14 regions have been affected, and some have even been destroyed. Besides individuals who died from smoke or fire, many must have died in the panic. As far as arson suspects go, the emperor Nero is at the top of the list. At the height of a nearby tower, Nero is said to have played his lyre while the fire raged. He is said to have looked at the fire as though it were a spectacle and recited the fall of Troy from the Tower of Maecenas. While Rome burned, Nero was fiddling. As incriminating were his actions after the fire. A third of the charred city was confiscated by Nero as his own personal property, and he set out to build the Empire’s most extravagant monument to self-indulgence. Some 200 acres of downtown Rome was covered by a palace complex. His palace was said to have been built after he lit a fire to clear a portion of the city. Hundreds of Christians were strung up and burned to death in the streets of Rome after Nero blamed the fire on a new religious cult called the Christians. Nero’s dysfunctional legacy was solidified by this latest act of horror. In a rage, he killed his pregnant wife after serving her the head of an ex-wife as a gift. After killing one’s mother, Nero is infamous for his heinous acts. Is Agrippina, the mother of Nero, the most overbearing of antiquity’s mothers? Passion was something she expected her son to share equally with her. She couldn’t accept a subservient role to Claudius or her son. After he became emperor in 59AD, Nero’s thirst for control gradually enraged him. Five years later, he sent his guards to kill his mother. Agrippina symbolically ordered them to stab her in the womb as the guards closed in. He was haunted by visions of his mother’s ghost for the rest of his life. He was driven further into madness by ideas. In time, Nero becomes increasingly lonely, paranoid, and crueler and crueler. On public land and with public funds, Nero built the Empire’s most lavish pleasure palace amid his deepening delusions. Historically, these were the homes of the wealthy and people who were part of the city. For that, Nero bled the provinces dry. The rich were also forced to pay him money in Rome. Their money had to be bequeathed to him, then they would be fed. Living through that time must have been terrifying. Forced labor was used in ancient Rome to build Nero’s Golden House. It was common and acceptable to utilize servants. In the city, one in three people were servants. Servant labor was essential to Rome’s achievements. To maintain and expand an empire, slave labor was necessary to generate profits. Besides slave labor, imperial Rome was also built based on slave labor. This palace would reflect Nero’s godlike perception of himself. It evoked a sprawling seaside villa in the city’s heart. What was once Rome’s downtown crossroads would be covered with vineyards, gardens, and pastures for wild animals. It would center on an artificial lake with a mile-long pavilion and covered walkways. Today, a 150-room wing of that pavilion remains. Despite its cavernous interior, its hollow interior displays Roman mastery of another engineering innovation, the vaulted ceiling. The Romans built long vaults to save time and energy. An arch extended along an axis makes up a vault. After you have built the framing once and produced one angle, move the framing, make another, move the structure, and create another. After just four years, the Damas aria was completed, and Emperor Nero exclaimed. I can now live in a house fit for a human. He left behind a dank shell of the decadent palace he lived in. Once covered with colorful frescoes and priceless gems, these brick and concrete chambers were trimmed in gold. To catch the light lapis lazuli, rock crystals and rose crystals were hung on the ceiling to catch the light of the semi-precious and precious stones. Nero was overthrown by a tidal wave of opposition just months after he moved into the DOMA’s territory in 68 A.D. His guards hunted him like a fugitive by declaring him a public enemy. Nero slit his throat with the help of an enslaved servant as they closed in on him. In his last words, he said, “Artists die in me.”. These words paint a picture of someone who saw themselves as stars rather than emperors. Like a grand actor, Nero died eloquently. Throughout his life, he had always dreamed of being a tragic actor on a sad stage. In the wake of Nero’s death, the Romans attempted to bury all traces of his oppressive reign and death. Dirt and rubble covered his golden house by 104 A.D. Emperor Trajan built a bath complex above it. During the next 1300 years. A changing city buried and forgot it. Explorers returned to the ancient beast’s belly in the 1500s after a sinkhole led them there. There are bizarre frescoes inside that inspired Renaissance artists. Grotesque is a descriptive term for these strange creatures they saw: a combination of humans, beasts, architecture, and decoration. Nero’s chilling reign is reflected in the DOMA’s area. An era marked by mass murder, madness, and extravagant self-indulgence. After the rain stopped, the Roman Empire did not know the future. All emperors, from Julius Caesar to Nero, were descendants of the same bloodline. It was now up for grabs to determine who would rule the Empire for the first time. There was no way to predict what would happen next except that it would be bloody and not very good until it was over. It is 69 A.D., and Emperor Nero is dead. For the first time since Julius Caesar was murdered, he was killed by his own hand. Rome has no heir to the throne. The Empire’s top generals engage in a bloody power struggle, turning their armies against each other. Vespasian is the ultimate victor. Unlike his tyrannical predecessor, he is not of royal blood. Roman legions were commanded by this spartan, straight-talking general in Judea, a volatile Jewish outpost. Nero’s antithesis was Vespasian. It was impossible to compare him to Nero. Besides being practical, hard-bitten, and proud of it, he was also averse to pretension. He prefers to watch football games over operas. The most extraordinary architectural minds of Rome would work for the people under Vespasian, as opposed to Nero, who exploited the skills of his engineers for his own colossal vanity projects. On Nero’s palace grounds, he had built a massive lake that he would drain first. There would be a building on that site. A masterpiece of engineering in Rome. Here, all the chaos that had consumed the city could be channeled. Though we know it as the Coliseum, it was called the Flavian Amphitheater. Therefore, Vespasian stated he was transforming a space that was previously only for the private use of a sinister emperor into a public space for the enjoyment of all Rome’s citizens. Propaganda like that is very bold. Blood has been spilled by gladiators for centuries. There was a hunger for more massive, bolder spectacles among the Romans. Gladiators would have a permanent state-of-the-art killing field in the Colosseum, and the games would change forever. However, this was a big event. The Superdome was here. You were entertained at home. From animals from the farthest corners of the planet to captives from faraway lands could all be brought to your neighborhood, to your favorite box seat, and right in the city’s heart. The Coliseum was built in 72 A.D. During Vespasian’s sacking of Jerusalem, precious relics were sold to finance the project. To build the amphitheater, 12,000 Jewish captives were brought back from that campaign. Their work would have been challenging and lengthy under highly harsh conditions until the end. From a quarry located 20 miles away, they hauled huge travertine building blocks to the site and poured over 6000 tons of concrete. As the building progressed, less expensive, heavy limestone would be used, and more of the lighter ingredients. For lifting stones, the Romans had quite sophisticated wooden cranes and devices, and they could do it quickly and from great heights. Over eight years, the structure grew to 160 feet high, dwarfing everything around it. As far as ancient Roman structures go, it is the tallest. In the capital, there is an amphitheater. Describe Rome in a few words. There was nothing like Rome in terms of size. It was so much richer than before. That symbolized ancient Rome’s power, engineering, and wealth. Two Greek theatres were incorporated into one 360-degree theatre in the round to form Roman amphitheaters. For Roman amphitheaters, the Coliseum set a new standard. 70,000 Romans could be shuttled in and out of it in record time, thanks to its intricate corridors and staircases. As with today’s stadiums, every person entering the Coliseum had a ticket corresponding to the number above the entry gate. Besides controlling the crowds, the complex kept them comfortable. Two large restrooms and 110 drinking fountains were available to accommodate a large crowd. There was even a retractable roof on the Colosseum. A valerian awning shaded spectators from the sun above the upper deck during hot days. Around the top of the Coliseum Arcade, Roman Navy sailors operated it. They could move it according to the sun and according to the wind. And subsequently, the Colosseum was amazingly air-conditioned and shaded, and they would stand on top of the arcade and work these poles, the holes we can see on the outer side that would hold this monumental canvas that would cover the place. After 80 A.D., the Colosseum was finished, but Vespasian died before it could be officially opened. Titus, his son, and successor led the inaugural celebration after his father died of natural causes the previous year. Romans flocked to the Colosseum for 100 straight days to see the carnage. A single day saw 5000 animals slaughtered. There were thousands of corpses outside the arena left by gladiators and prisoners. This bloodshed is only known in war, but it was pure entertainment. In the afternoons from the main event, prime time television is the best experience, and that is gladiators, man against man. After watching animals kill or be killed by men for the entire day, they watch men killing or being killed by animals in the morning. Around noontime, they execute prisoners. At the Coliseum, editorial fights were often the main event. Several ancient writers describe battleships on water reenacting live naval battles in the arena. Water could have been diverted from one aqueduct to a shallow depth to flood the Coliseum’s floor. According to recent studies of the Coliseum, there were plenty of channels, water channels for flooding, and substructures. Yes, it was possible, and yes, it happened. Elliot DeSantis explored the labyrinth of water channels beneath the Colosseum for the first time in modern times. Evidence suggests a plumbing system was used to flood the arena for naval battles, him. Some ancient tunnels under the arena floor date back to Nero’s time, even older than the Colosseum. Therefore, it is contemporaneous with the Soria Dome. It is also possible that the floodwaters were drained into the Tiber River using drainpipes connected to the city sewer system. The plumbing system was installed correctly. Tunnels filled the arena floor to create Navy battle scenes. In its most famous arena, the museum’s naval battles were an engineering triumph, but they were a fleeting trend. The flood operations were abandoned within a decade in favor of a renovation that would revolutionize the games. Beneath the stadium is the Hypogeum, a two-story substructure. Tigers and armed gladiators could emerge from the floor through elevators, trapdoors, and slaughter their victims without warning. Even though the natural spectacle took place in the arena, the stadium’s nerve center, backbone, and natural support system were below the gym. Wild animals taunted by the Reliant are kept in cages at the Reliant. A gladiator sharpens his sword as he prepares to fight. There is death. Criminals in prison and cages. The games began with an elevator hoisting another lion or panther into the arena through a trapdoor on the arena floor. We are bathed in light when the trap door opens. Amidst the screams and lamentations and stench of blood beasts, we hear the laughter of the throng enjoying the games, and then the trapdoor closes again. There is violence, blood, exploitativeness, and thrill in this film. Everyone who entered the Colosseum was awestruck by the engineering prowess of the world’s most advanced civilization. The power of that civilization reached its peak under Vespasian after a decade of strength and stability. Next-generation rulers would build even more significant, bolder artificial miracles with that power. England, Egypt, and Portugal were all part of the Roman Empire by the first century A.D. Nearly 50 million people of all races and languages belonged to one emperor. It was always an Italian Emperor. The Empire lasted until 98 A.D. when an outsider took over. A courageous warrior from Spain, Trajan, caught the attention of the ailing Emperor Nerva with his battlefield triumphs. Because Nerva lacked sons, he adopted Trajan as his heir and son. There is a broader understanding of what it means to be Roman, who can help the state, and who will participate. This is perfectly illustrated by Trajan. The first emperor outside of Italy was Trajan. The Roman world passed to Trajan when Nerva died. As soon as he arrived in the capital, he proved his loyalty to its citizens. He knew he had to appeal to their strict sense of superiority. We can point to the size of the Roman Empire, the buildings it built, and the ambitions of its leaders as defining what it meant to be a Roman. There was a sense of collective cultural ego driving them. The Empire’s infrastructure was the first target of Trajan’s massive construction campaign. Repairs were made to roads, harbors, and public buildings that were urgently needed. One of the last great aqueducts was commissioned by him. Replace Nero’s Golden House with new public baths. The cost of these buildings was enormous. His plans would be completed and fulfilled only if he developed more. Conquest is what this means in Roman terms.


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