Release the beasts! Colosseum unveils reconstructed trapdoor

Intricate passageways  beneath the Colosseum.

Intricate passageways beneath the Colosseum. Image by mrsjpvan2 / CC BY 2.0

Visitors to the passageways under Rome’s ancient Colosseum can now see a 7-metre (23-foot) high reconstruction of the elevator-like contraption used by the Romans to raise wild animals up into the arena and release them, either to attack prisoners who had been sentenced to death, or to be hunted as part of a show. The device would have been powered by eight slaves rotating a huge capstan, and incorporated a trapdoor at the top so that the emergence of the beast could surprise both the participants and the audience. Read more:

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