sites of public execution


The grand Colosseum was built between 72 and 80 AD. When it opened, it contained a marble statue in every arch and was inaugurated with one hundred straight days of games. All day events began in the morning with wild beast hunts and executions; those sentenced to death were torn apart by the wild beasts. The spectacles continued through lunchtime with musical entertainment and concluded in the afternoon with the long-awaited gladiator games. Games included one on one fighting and large reenactments of Roman battles. Prisoners were often used as the loosing soldiers in the battles and massacred in the reenactment. Before construction of the floor was completed, the arena was filled with water and there were battles between ships. In addition to prisoner executions, gladiators could also be executed on the spot if they were perceived to have not fought valiantly enough for the emperor. Animals were slaughtered in such excess here that during the 450 years of activity, several favored species of African elephants and lions were rendered extinct.


Site of Public Executions by Sport
c. 80 – 476

(Colosseum, Rome)

20 x 21", 2007