ROME — The worst earthquake to hit Italy in three decades has added troubling cracks to the Colosseum, threatening the country’s most popular historic landmark. Francesco Prosperetti, the special superintendent for the Colosseum and the Roman Forum, said that every earthquake puts ever more dangerous strain on the 2,000-year-old arena. “With the earthquake, the cracks…
Oh my! Thankfully we were able to take the kids there last summer and have them experience the size and state of the Colosseum.
We did learn, that the Romans got the money to build the Colosseum from the spoils of the sack of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem. A recently deciphered inscription on a large, altar-like stone with a chiselled Latin inscription, which tells how a senator, Lampaudius, had the Colosseum restored in AD 443.
Holes, however, still visible in the surface clearly corresponded to different lettering, this time in bronze, which had been previously fitted into the stone, read: “Imp. T. Caes. Vespasianus Aug. Amphitheatrum Novum Ex Manubis Fieri Iussit.” Translated, this says “The Emperor Caesar Vespasian Augustus had this new amphitheatre erected with the spoils of war.”
There is no doubt what war this was, the sack of Jerusalem, which occurred in Vespasian’s reign in AD 70, when a revolt by the Jews was crushed and Jerusalem was captured by Titus. The temple was destroyed and a million people were said to have died in the siege. The Arch of Titus, at the end of the Roman Forum nearest to the Colosseum, commemorates the victory, and bas-reliefs show Roman soldiers making off with the loot from the temple.