Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Many Faces of the Colosseum


In mid afternoon, the Colosseum is tinged in chalky white.


At sunset, the Colosseum is baked in shades of sienna. 


The exposed inner rim was pockmarked by medieval robbers in search of iron clamps.  


My favorite view of the Colosseum is from the Via Sacra where ancient columns provide a linear frame to the elliptical curve of the Colosseum's walls.


Past events in this ancient amphitheater are put to bed in the dark shadows of night. If only walls could talk, what a fright they would tell!

An excerpt from Lord Byron's Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, Canto the Fourth, (1818):
A Ruin — yet what Ruin! from its mass
Walls — palaces — half-cities, have been reared;
Yet oft the enormous skeleton ye pass,
And marvel where the spoil could have appeared.
Hath it indeed been plundered, or but cleared?
Alas! developed, opens the decay,
When the colossal fabric's form is neared:
It will not bear the brightness of the day,
Which streams too much on all — years — man — have reft away.

But when the rising moon begins to climb
Its topmost arch, and gently pauses there—
When the stars twinkle through the loops of Time,
And the low night-breeze waves along the air
The garland-forest, which the gray walls wear,
Like laurels on the bald first Caesar's head—
When the light shines serene but doth not glare—
Then in this magic circle raise the dead;—
Heroes have trod this spot — 'tis on their dust ye tread.

"While stands the Coliseum, Rome shall stand:
When falls the Coliseum, Rome shall fall;
And when Rome falls — the World." From our own land
Thus spake the pilgrims o'er this mighty wall
In Saxon times, which we are wont to call
Ancient; and thes
e three mortal things are still
On their foundations, and unaltered all—
Rome and her Ruin past Redemption's skill—
The World — the same wide den — of thieves, or what ye will.

For the full text of the Canto, here's the link:

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Images by Charie



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