I've been in Rome, Italy, one of the world's greatest cities. Our guide said the city was like lasagna -- layers and layers. There's been a city on this site for almost 3000 years! Of course, it started small -- probably just a collection of little huts -- but it grew into the greatest and most important city in the world around the time of Jesus. In those years, Rome ruled most of the known world. (This was long before North and South America and Australia were discovered!)
The building in these two pictures is the Pantheon. The original structure was built between 25 and 27 A.D. (Ask Miss Kysar what A.D. and B.C. mean!) but the building we see today was built between 118 and 125 A.D. It was originally a temple to all the gods the Romans worshiped but later became a Christian church and now is a memorial to the kings of Italy. There are no windows -- only a hole in the dome called an oculus (from Latin, the language the Romans spoke, meaning "eye." The Pantheon is the oldest complete building in Rome -- but not the oldest structure. There are ruins that are older. What's cool is the old buildings are right next to newer ones.
The most famous old building -- and it's sort of a ruin -- is the Colosseum. It was completed in 79 A.D. The beautiful marble stone that used to cover the building was ripped off centuries ago and used to build other buildings. And war and earthquakes knocked some of it down.
The Colosseum was the early equivalent of a football stadium -- only they didn't play football. They had public executions there and fights between gladiators and they also put prisoners there and turned wild animals loose on them. It was pretty awful. The Colosseum was so big that they could flood it and stage naval battles inside.
This is me inside the Colosseum. The floor is gone so all those walls you can see in the middle were under the florr where they kept the prisoners and the animals. I'm glad they don't do that any more.
Italians don't speak Latin anymore -- they speak Italian. Italian, French and Spanish all developed from Latin and they are called Romance languages -- not because they're in love but because they came from the Romans. I'll bet you can speak some Italian, too! Don't believe me? How about saying "pizza," "spaghetti," or "macaroni?" Those are all Italian words. And here's another one I know - "ciao" (pronounced "chow"), that means "Good-bye"
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