There Had Been Blood Everywhere

There Had Been Blood Everywhere

RomeNow there is just dust, dirt and tourists. My sister and I are some of those tourists, as we walk around the Colloseum.  I keep thinking of the gladiators and picture them fighting, killing, dying.  In the histories and novels that we have read and films that we have seen; this violence is what often comes to mind about Rome. The Emperors ruled with very little mercy on their enemies, the common people, the Mob craved bloodshed. Why else would they build such a colossus for the purpose of watching human beings and animals kill and kill with such violence? Slaughter was sport and the gladiators the game. Assassination, plotting to assassinate this was how Roman rulers gained and controlled power. Despite the much vaunted Roman rule of law, murder and slaughter were how you attained power.  Murder was the game, if you got away with it you were closer to ruling, if you lost well you were killed. Such were the rules.  There was a discipline though to what they did. A steely discipline.

photo 4These Romans took that discipline and lack of mercy with them and they conquered, and built cities, viaducts, roads, temples, great edifices- now the ruins of these still stand. They believed in many, many  Gods and Goddesses. They ruled many lands, and have made sure they were never forgotten. Even when walking in modern day Rome, all you can think about is the Rome of the past. That is the power they have over us still- those ancient Romans.

Rome’s beauty is in the things that are old and falling apart, in the ruins that mark the streets, the columns that stand on their own, or the cobble stone streets themselves. The fountains with the statues of giant men looking off into the distance or the statues of long dead Emperors staring at you with distance in their eyes.

That is the Rome I saw and loved.

LionAnd then we went to Pompeii. A city long, long since dead. It died so long ago and has stayed dead. The homes and streets that were once filled with people and material items are all gone, and yet walking into this city it feels still like it could come alive again. Like the people had to step out for a moment but will be back any time now. Please, have a seat while you wait for them, I’m sure they won’t be long.  Stray dogs walk the area adding to the feeling that they left their pets behind, so they must one day come back for them. To the city that was meant to be forgotten but wouldn’t allow it.

I could easily have spent longer in Rome,  just exploring the ruins once again or watching the Italians of today argue, kiss and argue again, then watch the tourist do the same. When in Rome?