I was very young when I watched the Gladiator movie for the first time. There were a few scenes which got etched into my mind forever. Especially those fight scenes which take place inside an amphitheater and where Russel Crowe emerges victorious.
Gladiator, Enya, and Celtic Music:
I always wondered. Was the stadium so big during medieval times? Taking some imaginary cues and clues from the Discovery channel and Nat Geo, my inquisitiveness even grew bigger as in how almost close to impossible it had been to erect such a magnificent building. The vividness of the architecture shown in the movie floated over my mind for days.
Years later, when I was doing my masters, that was the first time I got adequately introduced to the Celtic music and learned that “Enya” was one of those singers whose songs echoed in my mind in accord with the emotional resonance.
Those golden wheat fields as shown in the movie in the end and the background soundtrack sung by Enya called “Now we are free” would transport me emotionally into a completely different dimension.
Reaching Colosseum after years watching Gladiator:
During my internship in Berlin, in my last months, I decided to visit colosseum. Though my journey began with Venice but I was actually waiting for to arrive in Rome and see the Colosseum.
When enquired at the hotel about the Colosseum, we got to know that there would usually be a long queue at the entrance. ignoring that fact, we (I and Shayan) decided to go there and deal with our lifetime opportunity. So we arrived at the Colosseum.
Of course, there was a long queue but you beat the wait at the queue with the enthusiasm. The first far glimpse of the colosseum from a distance seems a giant structure from the ancient times. The big pillars, high walls touching the sky is a wonder in its own.
Colosseum does not seem to be engrafted with the beauty lying inside of it. From the outside, it just looks like an old rickety structure. When we entered inside, there were tier-level structures. The actual grandeur of that magnificent architecture can only be seen when you go inside.
There are tens of entrances to the colosseum. There used to be different entrances for the different class of people. For example, nobles had different entrance than the common man. Also, the sitting arrangement got used to get differentiated among the classes.
The higher hierarchy would sit on the top level while the lower class people used to sit at the lower sitting arrangements. There was also a common ground where gladiators used to fight. When I saw the main arena, that reminded me of the Gladiator movie.
You can still see the exposed part of the gates and alleys under the arena where gladiators used to stay back before entering the main arena. Those thick walls of small bricks, roman architecture and everything else would take you back centuries ago and force you to think the way it would have been then.
Colosseum in Evening:
It took us a lot of time to visit the colosseum. When the sun went down in the west, we did not realize. Once the darkness engulfed the sky, soon the pale yellow lights were being thrown at the outer walls of the colosseum. I and Shayan just decided to sit there for no reason.
Sky turned from dark blue to completely dark. The number of tourists abated gradually. Even the local by shops got closed. A few couples were walking hand in hand. And we just sat there on the rocks. I must insist that you should also experience something like that. Then, we again decided to take a round of the colosseum from the outside.
I don’t know what kind of experience I accumulated within me but that surely was something inexplicable. That was so mystifying in conjugation with the past and the movie Gladiator.