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302

(1887) [MARC] Author: Viktor Rydberg Translator: Alfred Corning Clark With: Hans Anton Westesson Lindehn
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Full resolution (JPEG) - On this page / på denna sida - Pencil Sketches in Rome - 3. The Colosseum

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III.
THE COLOSSEUM. WHO WERE THE BARBARIANS ? THE
DESCENDANTS OF THE COLOSSEUM. PLAYS. THE
ROBBER DRAMA, " LAUREOLUS." THE MONK TEL-
EMACHUS. SIGNOR ROSA’S EXCAVATIONS.
ALTHOUGH I have seen the Colosseum not only
when the sun shed its splendor over the yellow-red
travertine, but also by moonlight and torchlight, nay,
even by the light of Bengal fires and the " light of histo-
ry " besides, I have not the smallest intention of tiring
my readers with an attempt to describe the impression
that giant building made upon me. They have all heard
of the Colosseum and have swallowed more than enough
of written wonderment over it. I myself had in advance
had so much of this, that at first sight of the great work, I
found it hard to be astonished enough.
The claims of the Flavian amphitheatre to surprise
and admiration, are based, however, on the oldest pre-
scriptive right. The poet Martialis begins the line of its
panegyrists. When the " clement " Titus consecrated the
theatre with a hundred days’ massacre—now 1794 years
ago—Martialis sat among the spectators. And he strung
his lyre and bade all that the human hand and human art
had hitherto created, humble itself before the amphi-
theatre of the Caesars. But that the pyramids and the
temples at Memphis obeyed his bidding, may be doubted.

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