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Rome’s Colosseum is subject of archaeology lecture, Nov. 8

As a place of entertainment and carnage, the Colosseum at Rome is a well-known site from antiquity that continues to echo down the ages.

But while gladiators swashbuckled and crowds roared, the Colosseum also served a religious and political purpose as one of Rome’s crucial sites for emperor worship. Nathan Elkins, PhD, a professor of art history at Baylor University, will explore this overlooked role in the structure’s history at a lecture sponsored by the Creighton University College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of Fine and Performing Arts, the McCormick Fund at Creighton, the Joslyn Art Museum and the Archaeological Institute of America’s Lincoln-Omaha Society.

The lecture will take place Thursday, Nov. 8, starting with a cash-bar reception at 5 p.m., and the lecture following at 6:30 p.m., in the Witherspoon Concert Hall at the Joslyn Art Museum.

“Emperors, Gods, and Gladiators: Emperor Worship in the Colosseum,” stems from Elkins’ explorations in his third book, now in progress, A Monument to Dynasty and Death: The Story of Rome’s Colosseum and the Emperors Who Built It, for the Witness to Ancient History series published by Johns Hopkins University Press.

Elkins looks at the Colosseum’s origins, built by the Flavian dynasty at the site of Nero’s dismantled Golden House and using the spoils of the Jewish War, the massive amphitheater served as a victory monument to the Roman people and as a locus of worship for Rome’s gods and emperors. This event is free and open to the public.

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