Few civilisations have shaped the modern era in the way that the Romans did, and as a testament to their ingenuity, many of their great achievements still stand today. Every year Rome’s historical landmarks attract visitors from all over the world, inviting them to experience the cultural and architectural legacies of one of the most fearsome empires in history.
Entertainment of their citizens was a priority for ancient Roman emperors, and there is no greater historical landmark that exemplifies this than the famous Colosseum. Designed to hold over 50,000 spectators, this fantastic amphitheatre was completed in 80CE, and was the site of thousands of public executions, gladiatorial battles, and historical re-enactments. There are numerous other examples of public entertainment centres in ancient Rome, including the Baths of Agrippa, the Stadium of Domitian, and the Circus Maximus, all of which were used for a variety of social gatherings, and were constructed as a way for the ruling emperor to appease their citizens.
Central to the success of the Roman Empire was its leadership, and grand displays of political power were commonplace for every emperor. Many reminders of the Empire’s dominance still stand today. Rome is teaming with triumphal archways, built to commemorate its many military successes. Perhaps the most impressive of these is the Arch of Constantine, situated close to the Colosseum. This monument is adorned with statues and engravings, telling the story of Constantine’s victory over Maxentius, and is considered to be one of the best records of ancient Rome’s military might.
A Lasting Legacy
Almost every aspect of imperial Roman life can be remembered in the historical landmarks they have left behind. The famous Pantheon is a tribute to Rome’s religious views at the time; the Aqua Virgo still stands as one of ancient Rome’s finest aqueducts, and reminds us of the engineering prowess possessed by this ancient civilisation; the Basilica of Maxentius dominates the Roman Forum as a display of the political might wielded by the reigning emperor. The phenomenon of the Roman Empire lives on today in their enduring architecture.
Picture by TaoTina – Fotolia