Senātus Populusque Rōmānus (SPQR) : A page from history

The blazing sun shines over your head as you clench your fists. You have waited for hours together for that entry of the superstar. You have watched an exciting performance last year and the stakes are up high. Cheering, hooting, whistling, you are the crowd. As the drums roll, the action begins, your adrenaline rushes grow stronger. Every low is yours, every high is personal.

No, you are not at a football stadium but watching a gladiator fight. The games have begun.  Somebody’s sword has cut your hero, you cry deep inside while he perishes to the ground.Entertainment and thrill go hand in hand at the Colosseum. The age old story of heroism and glory continues till date. Perhaps our tastes have civilised over ages but the emotions….who could conquer those?
Our journey of Rome began at the magnificent Colosseum, a poetry in stone and concrete. The crown jewel of the Flavian dynasty. A witness to the glorious multi-cultural Roman Empire which stretched from Europe to Asia and Africa. A celebration of architecture and engineering. A place of valour and heroism.  A ticket to someone’s freedom. 
We wanted to take it easy on our Roman holiday. To absorb so much of history, we thought it was best to take it slow. Just at a stone’s throw from the Colosseum, we dragged our bags into a dingy lift in an old building.  Our clandestine affair with the ochre washed lanes began we gently unlocked the large wooden windows. It was no looking back since then. 

We wanted to take it easy on our Roman holiday. To absorb so much of history, we thought it was best to take it slow. Just at a stone’s throw from the Colosseum, we dragged our bags into a dingy lift in an old building.  Our clandestine affair with the ochre washed lanes began we gently unlocked the large wooden windows. It was no looking back since then. 
Every day, we would walk stretches of unknown lanes awaiting for a rendezvous with a rustic ruin, a piece of history which would make us ponder over the brilliance of the Roman Empire.  Rome was certainly not built in a day. The Empire reigned for 500 years.

The Pantheon, perhaps comes second as the intact buildings of the Ancient Roman empire and as expected serves as a modern day church since 7th Century AD. The real purpose of the building which has been re-built a few times is somewhat a mystery. Was it a private sanctuary of an emperor or a temple for worship of multiple gods? Before you could put in your imagination to play, the flashes of several selfie sticks would bring you back to 21st Century AD.

Not to worry, there is more history for your soul here.  The Roman Forum could put your modern day city centre or a mall to shame. It was perhaps the most buzzing postcode of SPQR ( Senatus Populusque Romanus, the senate and People of Rome this is craved everywhere)

The offices of who’s who of politics and aristocracy, the grand and imposing temples and gardens and flourishing markets were all overlooked by the Palatine hill and Capitoline hill on its sides. You might wonder if the plot to assassinate an Emperor was made in one of those narrow lanes or behind a mighty Roman column. Were the state secrets ever leaked by a treasoner? The exploits of war and the wealth accumulated by the Empire is certainly evidenced by the grand buildings and infrastructure of ancient Rome.
And after all these history lessons, if your feet are tired, sit down around the elevated path of the Circus Maximus. Put in together your imagination, your philosophical, religious and political beliefs to play. History repeats itself.  The never satiating human ambition flows across continents and throughout centuries. Guns replaced swords. Missiles replaced guns. 
And in 21st Century A.D.  a  modern day gladiator is born, not fighting in an arena of the Colosseum but crossing perilous borders as a refugee seeking his freedom because someone has hatched a plan to build an empire.

(Gladiators : Who  were they? Most were despised as slaves, schooled under harsh conditions, socially marginalized, and segregated even in deaths.)

18 October 2015

Categories: Uncategorized

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