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December 17, 2003

Colosseum

A team for the German Archaeological Institute is investigating how a system of trapdoors, gangplanks and levers allowed the Flavian Amphitheatre, or Colosseum, to stage its shows. An effective system of worker incentives was a factor.

Under the 55,000-seat Colosseum, pulleys and ropes were operated at split-second intervals to connect passages, open gates and hoist cages from the basement to the floor of the arena. The system was run by teams of trained slaves who faced being fed to the animals themselves if their timing went awry.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at December 17, 2003 08:44 AM