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A little history of www.the-Colosseum-net
1998 - The site dedicated to the Colosseum started in 1998 on Tiscali, an Italian host (you can still see the old homepage for a moment at http://web.tiscali.it/Colosseum/index.htm , then it disappears, as it redirects to this website. The main reason for starting the site was that at the time there was practically nothing on the web regarding the Colosseum.
I lived (I still do) near the monument, and I am still impressed by it, though I'm Roman and I've seen it thousands of times. I thought that such an absence was shameful, so I decided to make the website on my own, the main purpose of it being to provide information of all kind about the Colosseum.
2001 - I acquired the the domain the-colosseum.net, the Tiscali site emigrated to it and since then it grew, accumulating text, documents and images.
2009 - 1 million visitors!!
2010 - New graphics
2012 - Daniele changed the look of the whole website and adopted .php script. A bit too complicated for me, but it works well and gives a coherent style to the whole site.
2014 - French version!

Some of my affectionate navigators make bureaucratic inquiries about the whereabouts of the site. Here is a typical request: "HI!! I need to place this web page into my bibliography. To do so, I need the authors of this webpage, the name of page, the date of posting, the name of institution and any organization affiliated with this site. Thank you. This web page is very helpful. I hope you email me because this info is very important for my project."
So, here is the info:
Name of the website: The-Colosseum.net
Text: Andrea Pepe
Graphics: Daniele Pepe
English Language consultant: Catherine McElwee

Credentials - by Andrea Pepe
Some people have asked for my credentials, since they had to quote my work in their researches. My "academic" credential is a degree in Political Sciences at the University of Rome. I made the site as a hobby. I love my city and the arts, I have read about it, and I started it when I looked around the web for some information on the Colosseum and found out that the existing sites were superficial.
Now, from the point of view of academic credibility, my site does little more than try to report in a concise manner the findings of some of the available literature on the subject (believe, it is massive!). My reference for the site is the literature listed in the sources page.
In the site I have tried to report as faithfully as possible the current knowledge about the Colosseum, reporting where opportune the different views. It is quite common to find different opinions on a lot of issues; I tried to be honest to the reader in the sense that I often wrote "many authors think", or "it is believed" rather than give a one-sided, easy-to-remember explanation of some particular issue. In my opinion, this should lead the reader to imagine that there is no simple explanation and there is much more to learn and understand.
As to the value of the theories reported, this is another question: in the field of history or archaeology, where much is left to the interpretation of hints, generally the credibility of a theory cannot be proven by scientific evidence. While reading about the Colosseum I understood that much of the literature is based on important studies of the past, so that big mistakes have been perpetuated for decades. Often, when former studies were challenged, those theories were disproved.
The issue of the sources and their reliability/credibility is an important one. If you go deep into any subject, you realise that the problem of the "original" sources is the most disturbing one. If we consider the Colosseum, the original literary sources are few (I tried to collect most of them in the sources page in Latin), and they have generally been taken as fundamental..
For example, the fact that Martial (De spectaculis) says that naval battles were held in the arena has led many authors to find an explanation as to how the arena could be filled with water and then emptied. Some explained that when it was first inaugurated the Colosseum wasn't fitted with the underground passages, which were made later, by Domitian. Some recent studies now affirm that naval battles couldn't possibly have been held at all in the arena, because of the architecture of the building, draining system and all. Were naval battles held in the Colosseum or not? We are not sure anymore.
And then we meet a new elegant explanation of it: Martial did not really mean the Colosseum when he wrote about naval battles, but he meant another place or another kind of show, different from what is generally intended as naumachia. Can at this point Martial, the original source, still be credible? Can we find another meaning in his writings? And again, can we trust the edition of Martial's works? Which edition? Is the translation adequate? Is it the only version and/or interpretation of the original parchment codex? Because there might be another codex that reports a slightly different text ... And so on... What do we do then? With limited time and cultural resources, we generally stop in front of printed paper that looks credible enough, though the credibility threshold for me rose together with my knowledge.
The conclusion is that the truthfulness and reliability of books and papers (and in general of all information, this site included) on the Colosseum (and I believe on every subject) is good until disproved. So, if  any reader finds something worth being corrected, I'll be happy to receive his mail and improve the site.

No organization whatsoever is involved in the site. Please read the disclaimer below.


General - Although care has been taken in preparing the information contained in this document, the author does not and cannot guarantee the accuracy thereof. Anyone using the information does so at their own risk and shall be deemed to indemnify the author from any and all injury or damage arising from such use.  The author accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever with regard to the material on this site. He accepts no responsibility with regard to such problems incurred as a result of using this site or any linked external sites. This disclaimer is not intended to limit the liability of the author in contravention of any requirements laid down in applicable national law nor to exclude its liability for matters which may not be excluded under that law. For the texts available from this site, the author does not warrant or assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed. the author does not endorse or recommend any commercial products, processes, or services. The views and opinions of authors expressed on the Web site do not necessarily state or reflect those of the author.
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Warning to the students
Colosseum related topics found on this site should not be reproduced for the purpose of preparing school papers. That is called copying. Remember also that this website is well known on the net and that other students of your class might use the same materials (not to talk of professors checking on the web the source of your sudden knowledge). Always consult your professor before beginning any new work. It is your responsibility to research the accuracy, completeness, and usefulness of all opinions and other information found on the site, and to consult with your professor as to whether the information can benefit you. The author assumes no responsibility or liability for any consequence resulting directly or indirectly for any action or inaction you take based on or made in reliance on the information, services, or material on or linked to this site.

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A fight




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The helmet of a gladiator from Pompeii


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Cave canem - a mosaic from the hall of a house in Pompeii



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La Bocca della Veritā (Mouth of Truth), from about 100 B.C., is a giant marble disc sculpted into a human face. It was originally a sewer cover in the adjoining ancient temple dedicated to Hercules. Traditional lore holds that if you lie while your hand is in the sculpture's mouth it will be bitten off.