Why Are Our Sports Stadiums Becoming More Like Roman Amphitheaters?

Today’s Shift to Status-Based Seating Is an Unwelcome Return to the Rigid Social Divides of an Imperial Age

More than 230 amphitheaters, among the largest and most memorable monuments left to us by the Romans, survive in cities from northern England to the banks of the Jordan River.  The Romans built amphitheaters for more than 500 years in a range of sizes—from a capacity of a few thousand to 50,000 in the Colosseum—using a variety of techniques. The amphitheater at Pompeii was built in the first century BCE by workers who excavated hillsides, placed terraced seating on the packed soil, and erected retaining walls to hold the rows …

How Economic Warfare Backfired in Rome | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

How Economic Warfare Backfired in Rome

An Ancient Conflict Sheds Light on the Consequences and Limits of Sanctions

Attacks on a state’s economy can inflict immense damage, but sanctions and other tools of economic warfare are unlikely to defeat a superior military power. Instead, economic disruptions may prompt …

When a Violent Mob Stormed Rome’s Capitol | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

When a Violent Mob Stormed Rome’s Capitol

Over 2,000 Years Ago, a Losing Politician Incited His Followers to Riot. It Ended in Death, Destruction, and Civil War

A politician-incited, post-election riot at a Capitol, seeking to block the result of a peculiar voting system, is not news. Ancient Romans witnessed something very similar.

On December 9, 100 B.C., …

What Would Cicero See in American Governance Today? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

What Would Cicero See in American Governance Today?

Before the Rise of Caesar, the Roman Statesman Predicted How the Spread of Lawlessness Could Destroy a Republic

At some point in the early summer of 54 BC, the Roman statesman Cicero set to work on his most consequential work of political philosophy: De Re publica (On the …

Your Complaints About Globalization Are Old News

The Ancient World Also Wrestled with Trade, Aggrandizing Elites, Destabilizing Religious Conflict, and Even Syrian Migrants

Syrian migrants were being rebuffed by their richer neighbors. Walls were being raised to keep out barbarian hordes. Old empires, having closed themselves off to trade, were in decline. Revolutionary …

An Engine of Serendipity in the Eternal City

Who Needs Gelato When You Can Visit the British School at Rome?

Some scholars make straight for the Capitol, to sit on the steps where Edward Gibbon first conceived the idea of writing The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Others …