Rome has many attractions to offer and without a doubt it is one of the most fascinating places to visit. While the Colosseum, the Forum Romanum, St.Peter’s Church and many other fantastic places are incredible, today I got a glimpse of something more unusual. There was a Roman reenactment show going on at Circus Maximus. Gladiators, dancers, senators and many other actors had given the lively crowd an unforgettable spectacle. More than 1500 actors participated and showed scenes of Roman times.
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Back to ancient Rome
The site of Circus Maximus is massive, with apparently once room for 270,000 people. This was the place where ancient chariot races were held. It is believed that the wealthiest of all athletes were once showing off their skills in the often deadly races. One such charioteer Gaius Appuleius Dioclesis said to have made more money racing than any athlete today (in nominal terms of course). Today’s show was less deadly of course but gave visitors a great peak into how it might have been like. Imagine the Roman dancers in the middle of Circus Maximus and the many gladiators that were battling it out. Of course nobody actually got hurt, but things actually looked pretty real to me. Maybe because of all the children around, there was no thumb up or thumb down at the end of the battles and the referee always let the loser live.
As their final act they were showing the famous Gallic Wars with the Gauls making every effort to once and for all defeat the Roman Empire. They were attacking with bow and arrow and spears. The scene looked very dangerous, but the Roman Phalanx held off all the attacks. While when learning about the phalanx you can never really imagine how this would hold off arrows, they demonstrated its efficiency perfectly. At the end of the battle the Gauls lost of course, but to put more drama to the scene, the son of the Gaul leader committed suicide, afterwards his mother, the queen, and finally all of the warriors’ wives.
The battle was dramatized by the famous movie theme song of “The Gladiator” and commented by the president of the roman historic association. Certainly a nice and interesting experience to see and definitely recommendable. On a side note, this show took place along the festivities of the 150th anniversary of the Italian constitution. The city celebrates the anniversary with cultural invents and a week of free museum entries.