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2nd Floor 937/Hopkins Checked In
Wonders of the world
Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press 2005.
Item Description
Originally published: London : Profile Books, 2005.
Physical Description
x, 214 p. : ill. ; 19 cm
Includes bibliographical references (p. 189-203) and index.
Main Author
Keith Hopkins, 1934- (-)
Other Authors
Mary Beard, 1955- (-)
Review by Booklist Review

The authors point out that the Colosseum in Rome was constructed for the enjoyment of murder. They explain the role of that famous monument in Roman history and politics--a place in which the emperor came face-to-face with his people. Inaugurated in A.D. 80, the Colosseum was the scene of animals sent to fight each other or pitted against trained marksmen and hunters, some on horseback, others on foot, picking the animals off with spears, swords, or arrows. There were public executions, and gladiators, described by the authors as marginal outsiders in Roman society; captives of war, the poor and destitute who saw in possible success in the arena their only hope, fought one another (a wounded or defeated gladiator was at the mercy of the audience). Hopkins and Beard note that the role of the audience was important; the people, seated in hierarchical ranks according to status, were in effect a microcosm of the Roman citizen body. A fascinating account for the Rome-bound traveler as well as the fan of European history. --George Cohen Copyright 2005 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Library Journal Review

This slim but extremely well-researched volume attempts to answer two questions-"How should we respond to the bloody images that have come to define the Colosseum in modern culture?" and "Why is it so famous?" A professor of ancient history at the University of Cambridge at the time of his death, Hopkins (A World Full of Gods) and Beard, editor of Harvard's "Wonders of the World" series, of which this title is part, succeed remarkably in dispelling many of the myths surrounding the Colosseum. They refer specifically to Ridley Scott's film, Gladiator,to suggest that the gory spectacles and heavily armored combatants depicted there, as well as in other sources, are not always historically accurate. In fact, the building, originally known as the Amphitheatre, has been the venue for a variety of gatherings throughout its existence-from passion plays to midnight strolls by Victorian tourists to present-day visits from the Pope to perform the rituals of Good Friday. Lively writing brings the Colosseum and its denizens to life in great detail. Highly recommended for academic libraries; while not necessarily the book for those planning a casual vacation to Rome, it is also recommended for public libraries.-Rita Simmons, Sterling Heights P.L., MI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.