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307

(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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PENCIL SKE TCHES IN ROME. 307
and of white shining togas, an unutterable wealth of mar-
ble, gold and gay-colored dresses, until again it rests, on
the magnificent box, from which crowned Cajsar looks
upon the pageant.
That was the amphitheatre above ground. But it
had, too, a subterranean division, with vaulted passages
and chambers, machine-room, reservoirs of water, and
waste channels—all this walled into the depth of the ar-
tificial lake Nero had caused to be dug, and which only
a few years before the amphitheatre stood complete, had
mirrored his brilliant barques.
Waste channels the amphitheatre needed, in truth,
not only for the waters of the Coelian and Esquiline hills,
which collected in the hollow where it stands, but also
for the blood that was poured out on the arena. Some-
times this liquid literally flowed in streams. On the day
of dedication, Titus sacrificed nine thousand wild beasts
and tame, and on another occasion, two hundred lions
were seen within the barriers of the ground tearing one
another to pieces. At the thousandth anniversary festi-
val of Rome, two thousand gladiators fought for life or
death. Among the spectators, invisible, sat Nemesis,
and devoted the realm that so celebrated the day of its
birth, to destruction.
Emperor Domitian, a zealous friend of the "sports
"
of the amphitheatre, understood how at far less cost to
produce surprising and nerve-tickling sights. One day
was performed the robber play written by Catullus the
mimograph, Laiireohis : so called after its hero, whose
adventures, combats, imprisonment and death on the
cross, formed the contents of the mimic poem. The em-
peror had caused a proposal to be made to a condemned

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