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'Lion elevator' restored in Rome's Colosseum


Posted on Wednesday, 10 June, 2015 | Comment icon 16 comments

Wild animals were a common attraction during gladiatorial battles. Image Credit: Cody escadron delta
The special mechanism used to hoist wild animals in to the world famous arena has now been rebuilt.
In its heyday the Colosseum would have been a sight to behold; the largest amphitheater ever built, this huge stone structure would have been frequently filled with the cheers of thousands of spectators as battle-hardened gladiators fought to the death in the arena below.

Wild animals such as lions, tigers and bears were also often introduced to keep things interesting, usually resulting in the human participants being mauled to death, much to the crowd's delight.

These animals would be winched up from underneath using a series of special elevators that made it possible to introduce dozens of them in to the arena at once in spectacular fashion.
Now archaeologists and engineers have succeeded in reconstructing one of these animal elevators within the ruins of the actual Colosseum itself using only materials that would have been available to the Romans at the time, a project that took 15 months to complete.


It is believed that there were originally two dozen of these elevators inside the arena.

"This must have been an amazing spectacle, made even more amazing by the fact that it took eight men to operate each of the 24 lifts, plus two or three others to keep the ropes in check," said the Colosseum's archaeological director Rossella Rea.

Source: ITV News | Comments (16)


Tags: Rome, Colosseum


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #7 Posted by bubblykiss on 10 June, 2015, 14:44
"The Old Circle was built to amuse people for as long as possible so that they would not be forced to confront the horrible reality of their society." This is still happening with television, movies, videogames today... Absolutely....and media saturation, mobile hand held narcissism computational machines designed to titillate and amuse....er phones. Entertainment is a key feature of the human experience. And honestly, lion elevators are something of great interest to me. Because, who wants to think of lions being forced to walk up ramps. Come on, that is just cruel.
Comment icon #8 Posted by paperdyer on 10 June, 2015, 15:01
I have always wondered why the Colosseum is such a celebrated achievement. Maybe we should be more careful to classify the Colosseum as an architectural achievement, and a cultural failure. While some gladiators fought willingly, most who died horribly in the Colosseum were prisoners. People arrested for various crimes, and religious beliefs. Many were prisoners of war from Rome's desire to rule the whole known World. Innocent men, women, young boys, and girls died in the Colosseum, eaten while they were still alive by Lions that rode up to the arena floor in elevators that have now been recon... [More]
Comment icon #9 Posted by unconditional on 10 June, 2015, 15:38
"2 very different things, made in very different times, by very different people, for very different reasons." Same result in both eras of man's history, the death of innocent people who had a life to live out and enjoy. If you have ever been to Rome, and experienced the tourist / carnival like atmosphere inside and outside the amphitheatre, it makes for a sharp contrast to the quiet, reverent visit to Auschwitz.
Comment icon #10 Posted by TheGreatBeliever on 10 June, 2015, 16:10
Lots of inhumanity in the past..
Comment icon #11 Posted by GreenmansGod on 10 June, 2015, 16:46
Well, they got that part fixed. That is good, now we got something to take care of any pesky ISIS idiots that get caught alive. Feed them to lions. I don't think the Romans really discriminated who they killed for sport. I think it was more a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I am glad I can destress with a video game and no one has to die. When I look at how violent video games are, I think, deep down, we humans haven't really charged all that much from being Romans. I think I'll go kill some cyber animals.
Comment icon #12 Posted by zebra99 on 10 June, 2015, 17:24
Just think of this as the original version of MMA. But as the article is about the rebuilding of the lion elevator, one has to ask why? Is the Coliseum going to be used again as an entertainment venue? "In this corner, we have the poor smuck. WEighing in a 125 lbs. In the opposite corner, we have Leo, weighing in at 300+ lbs. Place your bets before the bell sounds" DING! Too late As one bearded gentleman observing the lions from his cell window said to fellow inmates...."Well I'll put it this way...if it 'aint a safari park, I think we've S*** it"
Comment icon #13 Posted by paperdyer on 10 June, 2015, 19:24
Well, they got that part fixed. That is good, now we got something to take care of any pesky ISIS idiots that get caught alive. Feed them to lions. I don't think the Romans really discriminated who they killed for sport. I think it was more a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I am glad I can destress with a video game and no one has to die. When I look at how violent video games are, I think, deep down, we humans haven't really charged all that much from being Romans. I think I'll go kill some cyber animals. I was thinking that, but you know how these ISIS people are. We ar... [More]
Comment icon #14 Posted by GreenmansGod on 10 June, 2015, 23:02
I was thinking that, but you know how these ISIS people are. We are probably both targets now. I live in a redneck Florida neighborhood, most of them card carrying NRA members, I wish them luck getting up the street.
Comment icon #15 Posted by Zalmoxis on 11 June, 2015, 1:59
Goes to show that ancient people weren't such dummies. Looks like a finely crafted elevator.
Comment icon #16 Posted by acute on 11 June, 2015, 9:16
They should hold a special Eurovision Song Contest in the Colosseum, featuring all recent winners and real lions.


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