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August 26, 2011     Post-Gazette
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August 26, 2011
 

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Page 2 POST-GAZETTE, AUGUST 26, 2011 Stir by Prof. Edmund Turiello Nostra Aweeklyc--olum'--~nhighlightingsom'-----"-'~ of the more interesting aspects of our ancestry.., our lineage.., our roots. VESPASIAN'S COLOSSEUM Vespasian died on July 23, 79 A.D. after a brief illness, just one month before the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. He was a hard-headed man, of great common sense, ambi- tious for power, shrewd, de- termined and above all he was practical. Although his reign was marked by great economy, the Colosseum or Flavian Amphitheater that he started in 70 A.D. was probably the most extrava- gant expenditure for public amusement ever made in the world. It was opened and dedicated by his son, Em- peror Titus, in 80 A.D. and finally completed by his sec- ond son, Emperor Domitian, in 82 A.D. These three em- perors, a father and two sons, all carried the family name "Flavius" as part of their imperial title and are known to us today as the Flavian Emperors. Conse- quently, this structure is properly called the Flavian Amphi theater. The name Colosseum came into use because of the colossal statue of Nero that stood near it in ancient times. The Colosseum is oval shaped, about six hundred feet long, five hundred feet wide, one hundred and sixty feet high and covers six acres. The central combat area was called the arena which, interestingly enough, is the English translation for "harena," the Latin name for the sand that was spread to absorb the blood of the con- testants or the animals. The air was kept fresh smelling by spraying perfumes or by spreading costly powders around the structure. Eighty arched openings in the exterior walls of the first story formed the entrances, but these corresponding arches in the second and third stories contained beau- tiful sculptures. A total of 160 statues were displayed in the upper facade alone. There was seating capacity for fifty thousand spectators and standing room for about thirty thousand more. Seat- ing priority was strictly by social class and all seats and tickets were numbered. The present day system of numbered seats and tickets in places of amusement be- gan here. The emperor's ringside platform or box con- tained the imperial throne and seats for government officials and dignitaries. The lowest range of regular seats were reserved for the noble and wealthy, while the sec- ond range was reserved for the middle-class. The third range was for poor people, and the last, most upper range was for unescorted women. A skillful arrangement of corridors, stairways, ramps and wall made it possible for each class of spectators to reach their own seats or to exit without coming in con- tact with their social inferi- ors. The eighty exits were referred to as "vomitoria" because they permitted the spectators to spew or flow right out into the street. A full Colosseum could be emptied in less than ten minutes. The structure was intentionally built as an arena where the wholesale destruction of human and animal life took place for the amusement of the spec- tators, and they witnessed these scenes of murder hour after hour, day after day, and month after month. NEXT WEEK: The Colosseum, Part II QUOTE TO NOTE (submitted by Sal Giarratani) "The fact that we are here today to debate raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the US Govemment cannot pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to J'unance our Government's reckless fiscal policies. Increasing America's debt weakens us domestically and internation- ally. Leadership means that 'the buck stops here.' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better." -- Senator 13arack H. Obama, March 2006 omns M. Menino, l Cdy of Boston PERFORHING WATDIFRONT AR T | tto to t"o NOlrth End ' IES Boston presents A Tour of Italian Opera Through the Ages Col. Wmrfroa (Gff)63. 39ii A Wonderful Visit by Bennett Molinari and Richard Molinari Through the years, we all with flowers interspersed. develop friendships that we feel will last forever only to discover that time and dis- tance often takes their toll and what was once a close and intimate relationship becomes distant and nearly forgotten. We have discov- ered, through the years, that certain friendships survive time and distance better than others, no matter how long the time, how great the separation. Recently, we had the plea- sure of a visit from three of our closest friends who have become more like family than friends. We have known Maria, her daughter Lucy and son Peter forever, experienced the ups and downs of life together and shared in many events, some small, others momen- tous, that brought us to- gether in countless ways. Our friends come from a tiny town in central Italy that is located high in the Apennines', and although they have lived in America for many years, they main- tain many of the customs and traditions of their former home. They also possess a wealth of knowledge devel- oped over centuries of hav- ing to be self-sufficient and have detailed knowledge on how to grow and preserve all kinds of fruit and vegetables and how to spin and weave. Wonderful gardeners, they brought us an enormous basket of herbs and veg- etables lovingly arranged We had lunch at one of our favorite North End restau- rants where we sat and caught up with what was happening in the lives of both our families, then we went to Polcari's where they had a blast looking through the herbs and hard to find spices. They were amazed at the variety offered and shared with us tips on the foods that each would best enhance and complement. We tried to explain that we are terrible cooks but it did not make a difference; our friends are determined to make cooks out of us. We returned to our apart- ment where we had des- sert prepared, mercifully sparing them from anything we might have made. We did make espresso which Maria guardedly declared to be OK. We then continued our conversation from the restaurant, this time cen- tering on housekeeping and homemade cleaning prod- ucts. We joked if they were trying to send us a message, but no, they assured us that our apartment seemed very well cared for, thank goodness. Early evening came along far too quickly, and they had to return home. We walked them to their car and prom- ised to visit before Thanks- giving, at which time we will pick up the conversa- tion where we left off as we have done countless times throughout the years. The POST-GAZETTE newspaper is a paper of general circulation. We are qualified to accept legal notices from any court in each town that we serve. For information on placing a Legal Notice in the POST-GAZETTE, please call (617) 227-8929; or mail notice to: POST-GAZETTE, P.O. BOX 135, BOSTON, MA 02113 Attn: Legal Notices Please accept sincere condolences, from the Spinelli's family and staff. During this difficult time, we would like to offer our facility at a specially reduced price, for you, your family and friends. SERVED UPON ARRIVAL Coffee, Mini Danish Pastries and Tea Breads BUFFET LUNCHEON MENU Tossed Salad, Assorted Rolls with Butter Chicken, Ziti and Broccoli Alfredo Eggplant Parmigiana Italian Sausages, Onions and Potatoes Above price does not include a 15% Administration Fee and a 7% Mass State Tax. 280 BENNINGTON STREET, EAST BOSTON, MA Telephone: 617-567-4499 www.spinellis.eom J WWW.BOSTONPOSTGAZETTE.COM