The inaugural games of the Flavian Amphitheatre were held in 80 AD, on
the orders of the Roman Emperor Titus, to celebrate the completion of
the Colosseum, then known as the Flavian Amphitheatre. Vespasian began
construction of the amphitheatre around 70 AD, and it was completed by
Titus soon after Vespasian's death in 79 AD. After Titus' reign began
with months of disasters, including the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, a
fire in Rome, and an outbreak of plague, he inaugurated the building
with lavish games which lasted for more than a hundred days, perhaps
partially in an attempt to appease the Roman public and the gods.
Little documentary evidence of the nature of the games remains. They
appear to have followed the standard format of the Roman games: animal
entertainments in the morning session, followed by the executions of
criminals around midday, with the afternoon session reserved for
gladiatorial combats and recreations of famous battles. Only three
contemporary or near-contemporary accounts of the games survive. The
works of Suetonius and Cassius Dio focus on major events, while
Martial provides some fragments of information on individual
entertainments and the only detailed record of a gladiatorial combat
in the arena to survive to the present day: the fight between Verus
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Today's selected anniversaries:
Harold Godwinson of England defeated Harald Hardråde of Norway in
Yorkshire at the Battle of Stamford Bridge, marking the end of Viking
invasion of England.
Ottoman wars in Europe: Ottoman forces under Bayezid I defeated a
Christian alliance led by Sigismund of Hungary in the Battle of
Nicopolis near present-day Nikopol, Bulgaria.
Conquistador Vasco Núñez de Balboa, upon a peak in present-day
Darién, Panama, became the first European known to have seen the
Pacific Ocean from the New World, naming it Mar del Sur, or South Sea,
a few days later.
The People's Democratic Republic of Algeria was formally proclaimed.
Ferhat Abbas was elected President of the provisional government, with
Ahmed Ben Bella as Prime Minister.
The last Magdalene Asylum, an institution to rehabilitate so-called
"fallen" women, in Ireland was closed.
Wiktionary's Word of the day:
ochlocracy: Mob rule; government by the masses.
Wikiquote of the day:
We live in a time when the words impossible and unsolvable are no
longer part of the scientific community's vocabulary. Each day we move
closer to trials that will not just minimize the symptoms of disease
and injury but eliminate them. -- Christopher Reeve