Thursday, 6 November 2014

The killing sand may return to the Colosseum

In July 2014, Professor Daniele Manacorda made the proposition that the floor should be returned to the world famous Flavian Amphitheatre.  The floor has been absent since its removal in the 19th century, when it was removed during excavations.  Since then, the Amphitheatre has been missing its floor (and sand) and the exposed innards of the hypogeum have been an iconic part for visitors to the attraction and experts.

This was all a very nice idea in principle, until last week when the Italian Minister for Culture, Dario Franceschini, reignited the debate by suggesting that it was one of the main ideas he was proposing for his scheme to boost tourism to Rome. 

The Flavian Amphitheatre was inextricably linked with gladiatorial combat, despite there also being beast hunts, executions, chariot races, animal hunt and reports that the arena was flooded for the infamous naumachia.  Gladiators have seen a resurgence in popular media in the past few decades with Ridley Scott’s Gladiator (2000), and more recently with the television series Spartacus (2010). 

However, this news has not recieved unanimous approval.  Dr Salvatore Settis, a Professor of classical archaeology and former head of Italy's cultural heritage council, argues that whilst Italy is suffering from economic troubles and financial stringencies, the idea of refitting the floor to the Colosseum is ridiculous.  “We are living a dramatic moment for cultural patrimony. In this situation, I do not think that giving the Colosseum back its floor is a priority.”

If you are interested in reading more about the Flavian Amphitheatre or about gladiators, then we suggest the following from our catalogue: -

·         Gladiators : violence and spectacle in ancient Rome
Dunkle, Roger.
Harlow ; New York : Pearson/Longman, c2008.

Classmark: 152F DUN

·         The gladiators : history's most deadly sport
Meijer, Fik.
New York : Thomas Dunne Books, St. Martin's Press, c2005.

Classmark: 152F Copy 2 MEI

·         The Colosseum
Hopkins, Keith, 1934-2004.
London : Profile Books, c2005.

Classmark: 113M HOP

·         Colosseum : Rome's arena of death
Connolly, Peter, 1935-2012.
London : BBC Books, c2003.

Classmark: 113M CON

·         The Colosseum
Los Angeles : J. Paul Getty Museum, c2001.

Classmark: X 113M COA

Monday, 3 November 2014

Electra returns to the Old Vic theatre with Frank McGuinness’ adaptation of Sophocles’ play


Kristin Scott Thomas and director Ian Rickson reunite to bring Sophocles’ tragedy to The Old Vic in the round. Frank McGuinness delivers a charged adaptation of this classic tale of power and revenge.

Electra is bound by grief following the murder of her father Agamemnon, unwilling to forgive and consumed by a desire for revenge, her anger builds. On the return of her brother Orestes, Electra’s fury explodes without mercy, leading to a bloody and terrifying conclusion.

Interested in Electra or want to know more about Sophocles?  Then check out section 94.11E in the library next time you're in.