Big Lights, New Perspectives

Constructed in 72 A.D., the Roman Colosseum held an estimated 50 to 80 thousand spectators for gladiatorial contests and other public spectacles.  

Once my friends and I consumed as much Italian cuisine that our stomachs allowed we made our way toward the Coliseum followed by Palatine Steps and the Roman Forum. My feet ache and my fear of being accidentally hit by an Italian car grow by the minute. The group trip offered us a daytime perspective similar to that of the ancient Romans. The moment we saw the vastness of the Coliseum we agreed to make a second visit to this site. Later in the evening we traversed the streets back to the Coliseum. We were stopped in our tracks at the sight of the Coliseum lit up at dusk. Seeing the Coliseum in both the day and night was a life changing opportunity that we could not pass up. I had felt emotions that I hadn’t hours before when first visiting this massive amphitheater.

The stark contrast between the warm yellow glow of Coliseum lights and the night sky makes the structure stand out far more than we could ever imagine. The lights illuminate every structural aspect. The cracks, the rubble, and every flaw being highlighted only makes it more regal. My admiration for Roman culture was intensified from this experience.

First seeing the Coliseum in the daylight reminded me of all the historical events that took place within its walls. I struggle to understand how the events taken place in the Coliseum were celebrated with such enthusiasm.

The Coliseum is a crucial chapter in the book of Rome’s history. Located in the heart of the city the Coliseum’s traditions were spread far and wide throughout Rome. Imagining the gladiator battles, animal hunts, and public executions provide tourists with a gruesome idea of their culture. I began to contemplate how a day in the Coliseum would go. I thought of spectators scurrying into the stands to watch a battle begin. I thought of the amount of women who were forced into the upper level where it was scorching hot. Roman culture had traditions with night and day differences.  

Many of these historic traditions are safeguarded within the walls of the Coliseum. Being one of the most iconic sites in Rome, its story resonates with everyone who sees it. The beauty of the Coliseum is paired with its gruesome history like a fine wine is with carbonara. Under the Twilight of the Roman sky, I gathered a new appreciation for the stark contrasts in Roman culture.

Claire McGrath

Claire McGrath

Featured Writer:
Claire is a junior at The University of South Carolina. She studies Public Relations in the school of Journalism and Mass Communications.

Sarah Sharpe

Sarah Sharpe

Featured Photo:
Sarah is a junior in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications.