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'Time Scanners: Colosseum'
(DVD / NR / 2016 / PBS)

Overview: How did the Romans produce some of the most impressive gladiatorial games ever seen in Europe? How did the Colosseum's mysterious roof really work? And how does the mighty Colosseum compare to the popular sports venues of the 21st century? Structural engineer Steve Burrows and his team of laser-scanning experts head to Rome on a quest to answer these questions and uncover some of the oldest mysteries of the ancient stadium.

DVD Verdict: OK, from the off, those not in the know should know exactly more about just what the Colosseum is and how it came to be. So, the Colosseum was an oval amphitheatre located in the centre of the city of Rome, Italy. Built of concrete and sand, it is the largest amphitheatre ever built and is considered one of the greatest works of architecture and engineering ever.

As 'Time Scanners: Colosseum' continues to inform us within this fascinating documentary, the Colosseum is situated just east of the Roman Forum. Construction began under the emperor Vespasian in 72 AD, and was completed in 80 AD under his successor and heir Titus. Further modifications were made during the reign of Domitian (81–96). These three emperors are known as the Flavian dynasty, and the amphitheatre was named in Latin for its association with their family name (Flavius).

The Colosseum could hold, it is estimated, between 50,000 and 80,000 spectators, having an average audience of some 65,000; it was used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles such as mock sea battles, animal hunts, executions, re-enactments of famous battles, and dramas based on Classical mythology. The building ceased to be used for entertainment in the early medieval era. It was later reused for such purposes as housing, workshops, quarters for a religious order, a fortress, a quarry, and a Christian shrine.

Although partially ruined because of damage caused by earthquakes and stone-robbers, the Colosseum is still an iconic symbol of Imperial Rome. It is one of Rome's most popular tourist attractions and has also links to the Roman Catholic Church, as each Good Friday the Pope leads a torchlit "Way of the Cross" procession that starts in the area around the Colosseum.

And so here in 'Time Scanners: Colosseum,' structural engineer Steve Burrows and his team of laser-scanning experts head to Rome on a quest to answer these questions and uncover some of the oldest mysteries of the ancient stadium. Armed with incredible scanning technology and the latest simulation software, the date will provide the clues to help Steve and his team reveal a brand new perspective on just how the Romans staged their games.

Sure, there have been studies done in the vein before now, but this new form of laser photography can actually provide the answers that have eluded all others that have gone before. This is the goal of the laser photo experts – who call themselves “time scanners” - and they have done these analyses for other historic sites. Thus, the results are all here now for the Colosseum and the games held there in this PBS series Time Scanners” (60 minutes). This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





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