The Colosseum is one of the most enduring legacies of the Roman empire. The story of the gladiators, panem et circenses, has been immortalized in many books and films, and one of my favorites is Ridley Scott’s 2000 film Gladiator starring Russell Crowe. Its themes of honor, duty, betrayal, and revenge are just as true today as they were in the times of swords and sandals, and quotes from the film flitted through my mind as I wandered through the ruins of the Colosseum.
Does what we do in life really echo in eternity? I think so. I think actions have consequences, whether immediate and far-reaching or small and subtle. Maybe something you do today won’t change anything in the outside world now, but it will change you, and it will change the way you act towards, or impact the lives of, others in the future, which will then change their actions and the actions of those whose lives they themselves touch. And beyond that? Who knows? Francis Thompson says it another way: “Thou canst not stir a flower without troubling of a star.”
In the warmth and light of the Roman sun, it’s hard to feel the heartbreak, the anger, the desperation, the gruesomeness of the deaths that regularly occurred within the now pockmarked walls of the Colosseum. The emperors are gone; the screaming mob have long been laid to rest. Are we, now, better than they were then? What will our legacy be?
For myself, I don’t plan on conquering the world or gathering adulation from strangers. I pray only for strength to withstand the battles of my time, to act always with honor, and to do my best for those whose lives have been entrusted to me.
- Book your tickets ONLINE! I cannot believe the number of people standing on queue for tickets outside the Colosseum when it is so easy to get tickets online. I almost felt guilty breezing past them. There’s a 2-euro booking fee but, come on, time is gold, opportunity cost, and all that. If you’re Filipino, look for Filippine in the “Nazionality” drop-down list; if you’re American, it’s Stati Uniti. After paying, my ticket arrived by email and I didn’t even have to print it out. I simply showed the PDF to the guys at the entrance; they only need to scan in the barcode.
- If you want to stay within walking distance of the Colosseum, try the Hotel Ciao. We actually booked with Hotel Luciani but was assigned a room in its sister hotel, Hotel Ciao. Our room was only 40 euros a night (good for 2 people, with breakfast), pretty spacious, and very conveniently located — it’s right across Roma Termini.
Happy travels! Strength and honor. 🙂
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