Colosseum Inaugural Games Writing Prompt

So Edana Ulf’s “Let’s Write!” prompt for today was:

“You have been transported back to the year 80 AD and the Roman Colosseum also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre has been completed. It is the inaugural games and you are in attendance. Describe your time there in as much detail as possible in 15 minutes.”

This is a subject of particular interest for me since, while I was in college, I took a class on the history of the gladiatorial games, and I did a presentation of structures of the games (mainly the Colosseum). The history of the gladiators fascinates me, especially one of the stories I heard about a girl who fell in love with a gladiator and ran off with him. (I’m a romantic. I can’t help it.)

That’s the story I had in mind when I began working on this writing prompt but…well…it says “describe your time there in as much detail as possible,” so I didn’t even manage to get to the actual games in 15 minutes. >.<

Anyway, here’s my piece for today’s writing prompt…

The deafening roar of 20,000 people crammed together in a stone circle rumbled in my ears as I squirmed in my seat in the top rows. I could barely breathe, much less move, and I was pretty sure that guy sitting next to me was just looking for a way to “accidentally” sit in my lap.

I readjusted my clothes for the umpteenth time, then glanced around at my surroundings. This was the opening day of the Flavian Amphitheatre, a massive stone structure meant for the gladiatorial games. The Colosseum, it was called, thanks to the massive statue that stood outside the main entrance. From where I sat, I could see an ocean of heads bobbing and swaying as people turned to their neighbors to discuss the upcoming games. I had hoped to find my friends, but…that didn’t look like a feasible task now.

I didn’t know much about the games, really. I had never actually been to a gladiatorial event, but all of my friends talked about the rugged warriors who fought there. The other girls would always go all starry-eyed at the mere mention of certain names, of which I couldn’t remember a single one, and I had even caught a couple of my friends carving ridiculous messages into the stone walls outside of town before. I had come with them to the Colosseum today, but with 20,000 people cramming themselves together, we had somehow gotten separated.

“This is so exciting!” one of the nearby spectators exclaimed to his friend. “I cannot wait to see the gladiators!”

“I’m looking forward to the hunts!” his comrade answered, grinning back. “This will be an all-day event, but I’m sure it will be worth it!”

I gasped slightly to myself when I heard their words. All day?! Did they mean to tell me I was going to be stuck here, squished between a pair of sweaty men, all day long?!

I was seriously considering getting up and leaving when, all of a sudden, the crowd around me bolted to their feet, shouting and shaking their fists in the air as a horn sounded and a line of men began to file into the arena far below.

I strained to see over the heads of the people in front of me as my neighbors continued to shout names and cheers at the figures in the arena. There must have been at least 50 men down there, all dressed in varying costumes. They seemed to be arranged into categories of costume, and even from this distance I could tell that they were scarred and haggard. Well, yes, I could admit that they were well-built, but still…what did my friends see in these people?


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