|06-24-2010, 02:57 PM||#1|
Curio & Relic
AKaholic #: 3738
Join Date: Apr 2005
Colosseum to open gladiator passageways for public viewing
London, June 24 : The yawning passages of the Colosseum, where gladiators waited before battling it out on the centre stage and wild animals were caged, are set to be opened to the public for the first time ever.
A system of pulleys, ropes and platforms allowed lions, tigers, bears and other wild beasts to be winched up into the sand-covered arena, to the applause of some 50,000 spectators.
The opening of the 2,000-year-old underground tunnels and galleries will allow tourists to get a taste of a scene from the flick Gladiator, wherein the former general Maximus, played by Russell Crowe, waits with his fellow fighters to run out into the arena.
"It would have been very crowded, very hot, probably very dark and there would have been a terrible smell," The Telegraph quoted Barbara Nazzaro, one of the architects in charge of the project, as saying.
Two levels of tunnels and chambers were hidden beneath the arena, invisible to the crowds.
Notches on giant stone pillars still show where the ropes and pulleys were anchored.
Tigers, lions, leopards and even crocodiles were herded down dank passageways and loaded into one of 80 lifts.
Teams of slaves operating pulleys and ropes then hoisted the lifts, which connected with hidden trap doors through which the animals would emerge into the arena.
A typical day at the Colosseum would kick off with hunting spectacles involving big cats, deer and ostriches, followed by public executions at lunchtime and ending with gladiatorial contests.
Engineers and restorers have been working for months to make the underground complex safe enough for tourist visits, which are to start in August.
Nazzaro said: "You will get an insight into not only the violence that took place, but the Romans' capacity to organise these shows. We think we have invented everything but nothing is really new."
Daraclor: A brand of anti-malaria pills which we had to drink every week while on the border. Legend had it that these would make you turn yellow and that you wouldn't be able to tan.
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