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What Was the First 10,000+ Seat Sports Stadium or Theater Built After Roman Times?
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How rich was the ancient Greco-Roman world?

One piece of evidence is their huge investment in entertainment venues. The Mediterranean region is full of the ruins of huge theaters and sports stadiums. The Colosseum in Rome, capacity around 50,000, is the most famous, but there are big venues all over the place, such as in Miletus, Turkey, that’s estimated to have held around 17,000 people.

Some ancient amphitheaters were just seats built into a hillside, but others, like Miletus, are basically the same design as modern stadiums, with spacious tunnels under the stands.

What was the first permanent entertainment facility that could seat at least 10,000 people built after the heyday of Rome and Constantinople?

I’m kind of stumped.

One issue is that Greco-Roman theaters were typically built of stone and were outdoors because it didn’t rain much in summer. So, unless somebody hauled the cut stone away to build something else (which happened not infrequently), they are still there. Northern European venues, in contrast, tended to be roofed, made of wood, and frequently burned down, so it’s hard to find impressive ruins.

Shakespeare’s Globe theater was built in 1599 and rebuilt in 1614, then demolished in 1644. The recent reconstruction seats 1,400 due to modern safety concerns, but it’s guessed that it held 3,000 in Shakespeare’s day.

I would assume that there were bigger theaters elsewhere in Europe: London in 1599 was kind of peripheral.

The oldest working opera house today is Teatro di San Carlo in Naples. It opened in 1737 with room for 1,379 seats and room for 3,000 including standing.

It’s possible that Europeans built temporary bleachers for events and then took them down. That was pretty common for heavyweight championship fights in the U.S. around 1900.

The U.S. built a lot of ballparks from the 1870s onward. The first I can find with a listed capacity of over 10k was the Philadelphia Phillies’ first version of Baker Bowl, which went up in 1887 with a capacity of 12,500.

Europeans concentrated instead on building cathedrals.

For example, St. Peter’s in Rome is 15,000 square meters on the inside, giving a capacity, squeezing 4 people per square meter, of 60,000. Raising the cost of St. Peter’s set off the Reformation.

Here’s what 4 people per square meter looks like from above:

But that’s standing. For theater seating, It looks like 6 square feet per person, not counting aisles (or lobbies or stage or backstage). There are 10.8 square feet in a square meter. So maybe 1.5 seated persons before square meter at most.

Seville Cathedral, finished in 1528, is 11,500 square meters on the inside, and Florence 8,000, as is the domed St. Sophia in Constantinople, which was finished in 537 AD.

Seville, finished in 1528, is 11,500 square meters on the inside, and Florence 8,000, as is the domed St. Sophia in Constantinople, which was finished in 537 AD.

I presume that the cost of St. Sophia contributed to the memorable Blue-Green Nika sports fan revolt of 532 AD. Constantinople’s chariot racing hippodrome could hold 100,000 fans.

The domed Pantheon in Rome (finished in the second century AD) is 1,500 square meters, so it could hold 6,000 people.

But then the Romans had whole classes of huge buildings that later Europeans didn’t have, such as Rome’s Baths of Caracalla. The main building appears to have been about 24,000 square meters, although capacity was said to be only 1,600 at a time (but presumably the customers were being served by thousands of workers).

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  1. Are you looking to book a venue for your first public appearance discussing golf course design?

  2. Lot says:

    Wikipedia says Rome’s peak ancient population was 1.65 million, which wasn’t equalled in Europe for 1800+ years until London passed that mark circa 1835.

    That number jibes with estimates of the overall population of Italy then and the empire as a whole.

    This classic article on Roman censuses is an interesting read:

    • Replies: @Anon
  3. The more pertinent way of voicing the question would be, “How long after the appearance of circus maximii does it take a civilization to play out its protracted but nevertheless terminal collapse?” Because whatever it is, we’re certainly there.

  4. ‘One issue is that Greco-Roman theaters were typically built of stone and were outdoors because it didn’t rain much in summer. So, unless somebody hauled the cut stone away to build something else (which happened not infrequently), they are still there…

    I’m pretty sure the Romans used concrete. That’s one reason they were able to build so much stuff.

    • Replies: @Mr McKenna
    , @Lurker
  5. ‘…I presume that the cost of St. Sophia contributed to the memorable Blue-Green Nika sports fan revolt of 532 AD…’

    You’re not doing well. I checked; construction of Hagia Sophia started after the Nika riots.

    • Replies: @slumber_j
  6. Aztec Tlachtli court:

    • Replies: @Jon
  7. I’m not sure the ancient world was rich compared to the Middle Ages. In fact, I’ve been learning the Middle Ages had a lot of technology the Greeks and Romans never developed.

    But Romans enjoyed large public spectacles and monuments, so perhaps it’s a matter of where they put their wealth. The Egyptians built the pyramids, but I don’t believe they were wealthier than civilizations that came later.

  8. anon[409] • Disclaimer says:

    The mosque cathedral of Cordoba is pretty big. About 25k square meters, although i don’t know if that includes the courtyard.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  9. Alfa158 says:
    @Intelligent Dasein

    The Coliseum and Circus Maximus were built within a century after the end of the Republic and the Empire lasted about another three centuries. The way things are going now we appear to be operating on an accelerated schedule.

    • Replies: @Old Palo Altan
  10. Jon says:
    @Ghost of Bull Moose

    Is that the stadium where they played that game that used a human head for a ball?

    • Replies: @Kratoklastes
  11. @anon


    Mosques tend to be really expansive, but not as tall as Christian cathedrals, right?

    • Replies: @slumber_j
  12. whahae says:

    Cathkin Park in Glasgow, opened in 1872, had a 16,000 record attendance. There are multiple recorded +10k attendances.

    It’s hard to find out what the regular capacity was and how much of the big attendances was due to cramming/extra bleachers/etc.

    For example Hamilton Crescent built in 1862, today has an official capacity of 4,000.

    The 1876 Scotland v Wales football match at the venue had an attendance of 17,000.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  13. @whahae

    So, Euros didn’t build really big sports venues until railroads could transport teams around?

    If there is just Manchester City and Manchester United in town, they can’t play each other every weekend, so the only way to get a big enough regular crowd to justify a big stadium is to have Arsenal and Chelsea etc. come to town on trains.

    So modern sports are once again a product of railroads.

  14. @Steve Sailer

    United should have taken the train in 1958.

    • LOL: animalogic
  15. The original Madison Square Garden opened in 1879 with a capacity of 10,000.

    • Replies: @Mr McKenna
    , @Hibernian
  16. Greeks had a working steam engine in the time of Jesus. But they didn’t think to put wheels on their æolipylæ, so those go down in history with Chinese firecrackers and Aztec Matcbox cars.

    But imagine the Stanley Steamer in Constantine’s hands.

    Long before the SkyDome, the Coliseum had a retractable roof, powered, of course, by slave muscle.


  17. donut says:

    The larger the seating capacity the baser the the “entertainment” and the crowd .

    Base however has many meanings .

    : the bottom of something considered as its support : foundation

    a supporting or carrying ingredient (as of a medicine)

    lacking or indicating the lack of higher qualities of mind or spirit . From Merriam-Webster .

  18. @Colin Wright

    I’m pretty sure the Romans used concrete.

    Yes, they did, most famously in the dome of the Pantheon. But many of their most spectacular structures were indeed made almost entirely of stone. The Pont du Gard for example. Despite various depredations over the centuries, it stands as strong as the day it was finished, nearly 2000 years ago. Not a single drop of mortar, even, in the whole thing.

    • Replies: @donut
    , @dearieme
    , @nurdle
    , @Mr. Grey
  19. Bullrings!

    Construction started on Seville’s Maestranza in 1749, and its current capacity is twelve thousand, although there seem to have a lot of changes over the years.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @Charon
  20. donut says:
    @Mr McKenna

    Man the ancients took us to the Moon .

  21. Anon55uu says:

    Not an answer to the question, but the first Grandstand at Epsom Downs racecourse (home of the Derby) constructed in 1830 held 5,000.

  22. @ScarletNumber

    Lord’s Old Ground in London (Cricket) held as many as 20,000 spectators, but I’m unable to determine if that was the original structure (1787) or a later incarnation.

    (One of the later incarnations)

  23. JRB says:

    Until recently there was not much use for large sport stadiums in North-Western Europe. In the late Middle Ages a popular “sport” were tournaments. When these were held in big cities in current Belgium or in Paris, the numbers of spectators were huge. The accommodations were temporary and made of wood. Same goes for the one sport that was popular in the Middle Ages. It still exists in Friesland were it’s called “keatsen”. It’s was probably invented by 12th century monks in what is now Northern-France. The accommodation in Franeker has been in use at least since 1853 (see ) and can house around 10,000 people. When this sport was still popular in France they also built quiet large stone indoor accommodations in Paris, that were later used for other purposes (see )

    • Replies: @Alfa158
  24. @Colin Wright

    Good point.

    Is bullfighting a direct descendant of Roman era gladiatorial games?

    Does it go back to Minoan Crete?

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
    , @Anon
    , @keypusher
  25. It wasn’t exactly a sports stadium, but the Crystal Palace built in London in 1851 for the Great Exhibition enclosed a space of 92,000 square meters — i.e. almost a million square feet — according to wikipedia. It held 14,000 exhibitors plus many thousands of paid customers. It was definitely big and impressive.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  26. @Steve Sailer

    Dunno. I have the impression its origins are relatively recent.

    It’s interesting. After we went, my wife kept saying to herself, ‘I guess they really have to kill the bull.’

    Things get tenser if the matador misses his first killing stroke. You see, at some point the bull is going to work out that his tormentor isn’t the cloak…

  27. Anonymous[309] • Disclaimer says:

    Large capacity stadia – for ‘sporting’ spectacles, ( in the Roman case murder as ‘entertainment), only make sense in large urban settings where the potential audience for such public spectacles are but a short foot journey away – we must remember long distance transport was a difficulty until the invention of motorized transport in the 19th century.
    Generally, the people who came after the Romans, in Europe at least, were not particularly amenable to urbanized life, preferring the small village and homestead.
    Other factors include the fact that there was no idle proletariat in agrarian societies with the precious time to waste watching nonsense in the arena. It could be argued that the idle Roman proletariat was the result of a slave based economic model that rendered working class citizens superfluous, being appeased by the proverbial ‘bread and circuses’ of the rich slave-owning patron class.

    • Agree: Hail
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Smithsonian_6
  28. Anonymous[309] • Disclaimer says:

    In the UK, professional soccer – with big, capacious stadia – only really took off in the late Victorian/early Edwardian eras when the ubiquity of rail transport allowed parochially based team supporters to travel the length and breadth of the country in order to spectate ‘their’ teams in national based leagues.
    Also, reductions in the working week during those periods allowed more ‘leisure time’ to follow soccer.

    • Disagree: YetAnotherAnon
    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
  29. Charon says:
    @Colin Wright

    Ah yes. Torturing an animal to death is such great sport. And people here imagine that the Aztec half of Mestizo is the uncivilized part.

  30. Charon says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    Long before the SkyDome, the Coliseum had a retractable roof, powered, of course, by slave muscle.

    Oh dear! I do hope they got reparations.

  31. @The Last Real Calvinist

    The Crystal Palace of the 1851 world’s fair was a giant greenhouse. It’s often said to be the first modernist building. It oddly seems to mark a turning point between the Hard Times of the 1840s and the optimistic, prosperous mid-Victorian era. It literally might have ignited the animal spirits of the era by displaying so much new technology in one place in this beautiful iron and glass building that had been built in a ridiculously short amount of time.

  32. @Steve Sailer

    The episode of the TV series Victoria that deals with the planning of the Great Exhibition and the construction of the Crystal Palace is entertaining and informative: LINK

  33. @Steve Sailer

    “modern sports are once again a product of railroads”

    As much a consequence of the growth of cities as of railroads in the UK at any rate – I don’t think “away” supporters travelling by train were a big component of the crowds until maybe the 1960s. Industrial workers used to have to work Saturday mornings within living memory (just), so there’d be no time even could they afford it. A typical male Saturday when your side was at home would be work – pub – game – home for tea.

    But as far as transporting the teams goes, certainly. If there’d been a Chelsea and Manchester United in the 18th century, the trip would have taken several days on turnpike roads!

    In rural areas it’s difficult to gather large numbers in one location – maybe a Wesley preaching rally, but they don’t happen every week. So before the Industrial Revolution there might be big crowds for a race meet, standing in a field or on a common, but that would be it.

    Romans were big on seating, but not the Brits. For example Villa Park stadium in Birmingham (which grew hugely in the Industrial Revolution) had 40,000 capacity by 1897, but nearly all standing.

    By contrast, the Romans knocked up 6,000-seater ampitheatres at relatively obscure locations.

    • Replies: @animalogic
  34. Guess it depends what your priorities are. The Globe Theater only seated a few thousand people, but William Shakespeare seats hundreds of millions. It’s a chicken-and-egg question, of course; Shakespeare would not have done what he did if there hadn’t been a theater scene (and if he hadn’t met Kit Marlowe).

    The Romans (and the Syrians, too! A fair amount of Roman architectural talent were Syrian imports; not Arabs, mind you, but Syrians) and the Byzantines built a lot of stadiums and amphitheaters, it’s true. I attach more importance to Euripides than I do to who won which chariot race just before the Nika riots. China built the Great Wall, but we’re all probably better off with Su Tung-p’o and the I Ching. It’s good that the Romans could build the Coliseum, but it might be better that they could come up with Ovid and Catullus.

  35. May I give the Panathenaic Stadium an honourable mention; built by the Ancient Greeks and later expanded by the Romans to seat >50k, it was excavated in 1869 and used as a venue for Olympic games in 1870 and 1875, and then as one of the venues for the first Modern Olympic Games in 1896.

    I can’t think of many European sports venues of any size earlier than that, as it seems Christianity frowned upon such spectacle from about 400 AD onward. Maybe China has own post-Roman era examples, but I can’t think of any.

    • Replies: @Agathoklis
  36. @Anonymous

    Before the late 50s/1960s very few supporters travelled to watch their team away, unless it was a special occasion like a big FA Cup tie. Most factory staff worked Saturday morning and didn’t have time or money.

    The crowds were big, but they were nearly all ‘home’ supporters.

    If the teams were close enough, that might be different. As early as the 1890s there were street fights between Aston Villa and West Bromwich Albion (a few miles away) supporters, as thousands of “away” fans would walk en masse to the opposition ground.

    • Replies: @Houston 1992
    , @Anonymous
  37. JimB says:

    But then the Romans had whole classes of huge buildings that later Europeans didn’t have, such as Rome’s Baths of Caracalla.

    And yet Rome never had to endure an AIDS epidemic.

  38. Cortes says:

    The entertainment diet in early modern London included public executions. From Wikipedia on Tyburn:

    William Hogarth’s The Idle ‘Prentice Executed at Tyburn, from the Industry and Idleness series (1747)
    The executions were public spectacles and proved extremely popular, attracting crowds of thousands. The enterprising villagers of Tyburn erected large spectator stands so that as many as possible could see the hangings (for a fee). On one occasion, the stands collapsed, reportedly killing and injuring hundreds of people. This did not prove a deterrent, however, and the executions continued to be treated as public holidays, with London apprentices being given the day off for them.[citation needed] One such event was depicted by William Hogarth in his satirical print, The Idle ‘Prentice Executed at Tyburn (1747)”

  39. Anonymous[407] • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer

    “Try Sparrowhawks Ma’am”.

  40. utu says:

    Opening game of the Maracanã Stadium, shortly before the 1950 FIFA World Cup.ádio_do_Maracanã%2C_antes_da_Copa_do_Mundo_de_1950.tif

    Brazilian officials claimed it could seat over 200,000 people, while the Guinness Book of World Records estimated it could seat 180,000 and other sources pegged capacity at 155,000.

  41. @Intelligent Dasein

    EXACTLY, I.D.! (and Alfa158)

    I was just going to write that we live in another era of Bread & Circuses, an even couple of millennia later. I like round numbers like that.

    The Roman Colisseum is very impressive, and I saw it recently. Outside the venue (haha) I’d guessed a ridiculously low number of seats, 5,000 or something, just due to my sight angle. When just outside in line for tickets I thought that it reminded me of my local sports stadium, and once inside, it was obvious to me that this was on par, minus the built-in cupholders, with modern sports stadiums.

    While the ugly Chinamen* went around taking unlimited pictures of themselves in front of this and in front of that, I put myself back to 2,000 years ago, took in the whole idea, and was extremely impressed! I’ll admit, I did try to get a photo of me and my son framed like the Monty Python skit.

    * just the old expression updated, not any comment on their looks.

  42. Anon[416] • Disclaimer says:

    The Colosseum really fascinates me, but another thing that really fascinates me is how much or little source material there is for ancient history. And The Colosseum is a good example. A lot of what you read about it is based on very little documentary evidence and speculation based on the physical ruins.

    At any rate, here’s an incomplete sortable table from Wikipedia:

    List of closed stadiums by capacity

    They list a 45,000 seater in Carthage, closed well before Hannibal.

  43. @Anonymous

    Large capacity stadia – for ‘sporting’ spectacles, ( in the Roman case murder as ‘entertainment)

    There is an interesting analysis of Gladiator combat here that suggests that our view of it being unmitigated slaughter doesn’t really stack up.

  44. JDG1980 says:

    I presume that the cost of St. Sophia contributed to the memorable Blue-Green Nika sports fan revolt of 532 AD.

    Actually, the causation goes the other way: The Nika Revolt burned down a lot of the city, including the older (and much less impressive) Hagia Sophia church, so Justinian took the opportunity to rebuild on a grander scale.

    BTW, another late antique building that might be worth mentioning is the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, which is over 15,000 square meters (going by dimensions provided on Wikipedia). It was built by Caliph al-Walid as a deliberate attempt to surpass the Byzantine Empire’s monumental religious architecture, which still dominated the Middle East at the time.

  45. Clyde says:

    The first major league baseball parks (as they were called) were made of all wood and some caught fire. Some used iron beam support columns for the wooden construction. Baker Bowl mentioned above was all wood construction.

    • Replies: @Jonathan Mason
  46. @YetAnotherAnon

    And I was amazed to see how close stadia are : Liverpool and Everton are about three miles away , and so are Manchester City and United.

  47. slumber_j says:
    @Steve Sailer

    The spectacularly beautiful mosque in Cordoba originally was pretty low-rise but incorporates at its center a Renaissance church that was added later and is both much taller than the rest and much less interesting. From that Wikipedia article:

    The insertion was constructed by permission of Charles V, king of Castile and Aragon. However, when Charles V visited the completed cathedral he was displeased by the result and famously commented: “You have destroyed something unique to build something commonplace.”

  48. Moses says:

    Capacity venues of any event would depend on the host city’s ability to fill them.

    Rome was able to support ~1.5 million inhabitants and high population density because it was a sophisticated and organized empire. Grain ships carrying up to 365 tons (not matched again until the 1600s) plied the Mediterranean between Rome/Ostia, Alexandria and other ports to feed the capital city.

    After the Roman Empire fell there were no European cities anywhere near 1 million people for a very long time, and hence no need for any large permanent venues.

  49. slumber_j says:
    @Colin Wright

    Massive burn, although I checked and generally you need to have a lot money in place before you start building something enormous.

  50. dearieme says:
    @Mr McKenna

    Please keep finding good excuses to present us with that photo. If you manage it twenty times in a year I for one will cheer.

  51. dearieme says:

    What about the wonderful horse races in Sienna? Big crowds but not in a stadium, mind.

    • Replies: @Cortes
  52. Anon[416] • Disclaimer says:

    Interesting article. I guess we won’t be getting many more like it in the age of Donna Zukerberg.

    I’ve been reading the books of Raoul McLaughlin on Roman external trade, and he does a lot of this back-of-the-envelope number crunching. The grain dole, cura annonae, is sometimes used to triangulate figures from other sources, but I don’t see it referenced in Frank’s article.

    • Replies: @Lot
  53. Anon[416] • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer

    I was disappointed to learn recently that the existence of the gladiatrix is based on very sketchy sourcing. Maybe gladiatrices existed in some organized form, maybe not. The word itself is a modern Latin coinage.

  54. dearieme says:

    Your sort of thing, Mr iSteve?

    Answer without using a search engine: who was the first black to play at Wimbledon?

    • Replies: @Hibernian
  55. Anonymous[953] • Disclaimer says:

    One late, unlamented facet of 1970s British life were the ‘Soccer Special’ charter trains run by British Rail, which were non stopping express trains connecting ‘home’ supporters to ‘away’ games elsewhere in the country. Ritually, the cars of these trains were ‘smashed to matchwood’ by the louts riding these trains – solid hardwood and steel being no match to the proclivities of yer typical soccer yob.
    Even more bizarre was the practice of British Rail of arranging a ‘new’ undamaged train for the yobs, pulling the trashed one into sidings. The new train would get trashed as well.

    • Replies: @Lurker
  56. Jack D says:

    I think you are mixing apples and oranges here. Theaters for dramas, operas, etc., especially in the age before amplification, topped out at maybe 2 or 3 thousand people max – more than that and you’d never hear anything.

    The Coliseum was not a theater but an amphitheater – a double theater (two theaters face to face with the stage in the center) and it’s function was not for plays but for spectacular games. Sight was more important than sound.

    The post Roman West had no demand for amphitheaters until spectator sports became common again. In Spain, Colosseum style man vs. animal matches never went out of style so they would have had arenas (sand – the bullring in the middle) all along. The British also had bear baiting and other animal contests – these were usually outdoors.

    You need (or want) indoor venues for boxing matches and indoor bike races and basketball, hockey, etc. Building a big enough building is not the problem – you need to have sports spectaculars and you also need lighting and ventilation and for that you need power, preferably electricity. So not until the late 19th century or maybe even the early 20th.

    But as for the answer of when the first modern indoor area was built, I dunno. According to this article, “the Palestra [on the U. Penn campus in Philadelphia] opened Jan. 1, 1927 as one of the world’s largest arenas. 10,000 fans attended the first game, then the largest crowd to watch a basketball game on the East Coast.” The Palestra’s modern capacity is 8,700 – people are fatter now, fire codes stricter.

  57. Art Deco says:

    I seem to recall an economic historian’s estimate that the standard of living of the free population of 2d century Rome might have been surpassed in Britain by around 1830. Been a while and cannot recall the name of the text.

  58. Abe says:
    @Intelligent Dasein

    The more pertinent way of voicing the question would be, “How long after the appearance of circus maximii does it take a civilization to play out its protracted but nevertheless terminal collapse?”

    Theodora’s rise to power only LXV years after the first recorded mention of the BECHDELUS TEST is uncanny.

    • LOL: Faraday's Bobcat
  59. Lugash says:

    Mosques are to be built to cram as many bodies inside as possible, where cathedrals are more symbolic structures reaching to the heavens. Mosques generally seem to have less in the way of interior/exterior decoration as well, but there are exceptions.

    American mega-churches look somewhat similar to mosques sometimes.

  60. @Steve Sailer

    a giant greenhouse (…) literally might have ignited the animal spirits of the era

    Perhaps ’twas their answer to the Year Without a Summer (1816).

    Memories of the last famine were still alive in 1851.

  61. Muse says:

    Westminster hall has the largest medieval clear span timber roof in England. Built around 1300.

    When parliament was bombed in WWII, they had to choose, and saved Westminster hall and let the other portion burn because of the hall’s historical Significance.

  62. Anonymous[334] • Disclaimer says:

    Slightly OT…

    Fascinating recent video on Roman gladiators. Some factoids:
    – Gladiator matches were often refereed and rarely to the death. I suspect most gladiators died from infections, outside the Colosseum.
    – Becoming a gladiator was often a better deal than serving in the Roman Army, which was a 25 year enlistment.
    – The “to the death” gladiator matches were typically hyped as such. Several emperors unsuccessfully tried to stop these, including Augustus. I suspect these matches often involved two captives from rival tribes or gladiator schools, who were more than willing to go at it.
    – Most people who would be killed in the Colosseum (more accurate term, Flavian Amphitheater) were criminals. From what I’ve read elsewhere, the more common executions were typically carried out at lunch time, and tended to bore the crowd, who went out to grab a snack. Mostly drunks and weirdos stuck around.
    – Gladiator helmets and armor were terrible for actual combat. Similar styles cannot be found in any military armor from the period. Gladiator helmets often completely cover the face, which serves no value. The video speculates this was so gladiators could talk to each other and choreograph moves. I suspect this was done to swap in replacement fighters, since they would probably often get injured in training, much like modern MMA fighters.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    , @Sparta Cuz
  63. Hodag says:

    As if 1904 could seat 12,000.

    Made of wood, built in 1860, could seat 12,000.

    This was massive and built in the 1860s. Cross of Gold speech was there.

    I scraped these off Wikipedia’s list of Democratic Conventions. Other large gatherings were probably religious. When did Mecca’s stone get surrounded by walls? Would that qualify?

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @Hibernian
  64. Alfa158 says:

    I looked up some videos of keatsen being played by the Frisians, who are its main participants nowadays. Based on the players and spectators I saw, kaatsen as they spell it, has to qualify as the world’s Whitest sport. It makes skiing, ice hockey or yachting look like the NBA.

    • Replies: @JRB
  65. Alfa158 says:

    I hope he lets us know when he has the venue and date. I guarantee you I am willing to buy a ticket and fight through the horde of antifa besiegers to hear Steve deliver a lecture on golf course architecture. And I don’t even play the game.

    • Agree: MikeatMikedotMike
  66. @Reg Cæsar

    In modern times the Civic Auditorium in Pittsburgh (The Igloo) was the first retractable roof stadium/ arena in North America. One could say The Big O in Montreal as well but that has been a billion dollar fiasco to this day. Its more of a run down parking garage now.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  67. nurdle says:
    @Mr McKenna

    Compare the mortarless Inca stonework in Peru to the mortared work of the Spanish that followed, and you find the former has aged a lot better. I think this is because brittle mortar can’t handle small earthquakes.

  68. Dutch Boy says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    Actually, the retractable cover was operated by a rotating detachment of sailors from the Roman naval base at Misenum (near Naples). They even had their own barracks near the Colosseum. Before the invention of modern machinery, large construction projects of the Roman type needed slave labor to be built and maintained. An abundance of slaves allowed relatively rapid construction as opposed to the centuries-long building of cathedrals. The greatest Roman project not built by slaves (the roads) was built by the Roman army to facilitate the rapid movement of legions across the empire. Once the Western empire dissolved, there was no further use for the roads and they were allowed to fall in ruin. The wealth of the Roman empire was based on imperial expansion and the extensive use of slave labor for the benefit of the free population (aggression and oppression). Once the empire ceased expansion, the system started its long implosion and could no longer support the more vulnerable Western empire.

  69. @Houston 1992

    Italian teams in the same city generally share the same stadium – Lazio and Roma at the Stadio Olympico, Juventus and Torino until recently at the Stadia della Alpi. Inter and AC Milan at the San Siro.

    Genoa and Sampdoria, Verona and Chievo also share grounds. I don’t think any UK teams share grounds except in time of emergency.

    • Replies: @dearieme
  70. Lot says:

    Donna hasn’t really taken over Classics yet, but the writing is on the wall. History and philosophy are the other holdouts in the humanities from SJW complete takeover.

    Similar stats and history research also goes on in economics departments.

  71. Dtbb says:

    Clem’s Baseball is a fun website.

  72. @Charon

    ‘Ah yes. Torturing an animal to death is such great sport. And people here imagine that the Aztec half of Mestizo is the uncivilized part.’

    That was predictable.

    Have you ever been to a bull fight?

  73. @Houston 1992

    And I was amazed to see how close stadia are : Liverpool and Everton are about three miles away , and so are Manchester City and United.

    Half that from the Polo Grounds to Yankee Stadium, less than a mile as the Eastern bluebird flies.

    Braves Field was about a mile from Fenway. Shibe Park and the Baker Bowl were maybe 700 yards apart.

    Of course, the Cardinals and Browns shared Sportsman’s Park for 34 seasons. Across the other Eastern bluebird state, there is this:

    Looks wasteful, but over time it turned out to be a bargain. The “multipurpose” contemporaries have mostly been replaced. These are good till 2031.

    • Replies: @Hibernian
    , @donvonburg
  74. @Alfa158

    “The way things are going now we appear to be operating on an accelerated schedule.”

    We are indeed; “motus in fine velocior“, after all, and the end is very near.

    Sit tight.

  75. Jack D says:

    Most branches of Islam forbid the use of images of humans or even animals, which limits the artistic possibilities. However (and I am not kidding) Islamic calligraphy lends itself to decorate use so you can do a lot with stylized Koranic verses and geometric patterns:

    Generally speaking, truly great art emerges when you are constrained by rules and conventions and not free to do whatever the hell you want, because 99 times out of 100, whatever the hell you want is not a good idea.

    • Agree: slumber_j
  76. @slumber_j

    The Cordoba mosque is interesting, but not in any way “spectacularly beautiful”. One is momentarily fascinated but ultimately bored by the vain repetition of more or less identical columns, row upon row. I agree however that the cathedral in the midst of it is not a great masterpiece.

    What is a masterpiece, and what works upon one like a sweet breath of cool, fresh air after chamber after barbarous chamber build by the Mohammedan interlopers, is the Courtyard of the Palace of Charles V in the Alhambra in Granada. I can still remember my relief when I stepped out into it in August 1969.

    Franco still ruled, and all was right with Spain if not the world.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    , @keypusher
    , @slumber_j
  77. Jack D says:
    @Old Palo Altan

    Really? Barbarous? I thought that the Charles V courtyard was hot and boring compared to the Court of the Lions with its cool and delightful fountain and running stream. You would think that Charles would have at least put a fountain in the middle of it. Or a tree or a shrub or a statute. Anything to kill the fascist monotony.

    • Replies: @Old Palo Altan
  78. @Art Deco

    Thank you, Art Deco.

    I have recently pondered the idea of revisiting the great televison shows of my youth, and this excerpt has reminded me just how magnificent I, Claudius was.

    And Livia was (and clearly will remain) my favourite character.

  79. @The Alarmist

    The Byzantines were avid followers of chariot races at the Hippodrome in Constantinople.

    It was also used for processions like Ioannis Tzimiskis’s triumph after his defeat of the Rus around the 970 AD.

    The Sultans were not interested in races and used the same stadium for circumcision ceremonies.

    • Replies: @The Alarmist
  80. ricpic says:

    There must have been food vendors at those ancient stadia. Wonder whether they sold some kind of sausage predecessor of the hotdog?

    • Replies: @The Alarmist
  81. @Agathoklis

    I would consider the Constantinople Hippodrome to be a Roman construction; the Byzantines for all intents and purposes considered themselves to be Romans until the very end in 1453.

    • Replies: @nebulafox
    , @Agathoklis
  82. @ricpic

    There must have been food vendors at those ancient stadia. Wonder whether they sold some kind of sausage predecessor of the hotdog?

    • Replies: @Agathoklis
  83. @Hodag

    Okay, so a rule of thumb should be that outdoor facilities must have a slope to enable viewing: e.g., a town square doesn’t qualify as an entertainment venue. Roofed facilities can be flat.

  84. @Lugash

    American mega-churches look somewhat similar to mosques sometimes.

    Good point.

  85. Christ. You get paid to foist your whims and trivial obsessions on people. Are you really finding morals in seating capacities. Cheezis X. Rist.

  86. @Jack D

    Thank you for a really splendid photo of the Emperor’s masterful vision.

    Fountains? All right I suppose for the effete and soon to be superseded eunuchs of the seraglio, but the hidalgos of a Spain which was already subduing the murderous Aztecs of Mexico had no need of such fripperies.

    • Replies: @JMcG
  87. Cortes says:

    There were a few groups of weeping Islamic visitors when I was in the Córdoba Cathedral/Mosque a couple of years ago. The Cathedral is a bit awful but, hey, look at Hagia Sophia…to the victor &c.

    • Replies: @slumber_j
  88. Cortes says:


    The squares of Southern Europe would be used as natural sites to have entertainment. I believe that the plays of Lope de Vega and others were staged in squares.

  89. keypusher says:
    @Steve Sailer

    No. I visited the bullfighting museum in Seville this summer (located in the old bullring, which is still in operation). I don’t think Spanish bullfighting goes back before the 1600s, and the matador-centric style is much newer than that.

    IIRC the original capacity of the Seville bullring was around 3,500. The bullring in Barcelona, incidentally, is now a shopping mall (Catalans consider bullfighting a Spanish barbarity). While I was in Madrid I overheard a local telling a tourist that bullfighting would be gone from Spain in under 30 years.

    • Replies: @Cortes
  90. dearieme says:

    You get some sharing between rugby and football sides. It’s not ideal: rugby knocks hell out of the turf.

  91. keypusher says:
    @Old Palo Altan

    Generally people can like or dislike whatever they like, but I think anyone who describes the Alhambra as chamber after barbarous chamber build by the Mohammedan interlopers is just willfully blinding himself to beauty because it was made by Muslims. I thought the Real Alcazar was even more gorgeous. And there’s a lot more to the mosque at Cordoba than the columns; maybe try a tour guide next time.

    As for interlopers….the Muslims were in Spain 200 years longer than Europeans have been in America. Washington Irving managed to be a little more perceptive and a lot more gracious.

    A few broken monuments are all that remain to bear witness to their power and dominion, as solitary rocks, left far in the interior, bear testimony to the extent of some vast inundation. Such is the Alhambra; — a Moslem pile in a Christian land; an Oriental palace amidst the Gothic edifices of the West; an elegant memento of a brave, intelligent, and graceful people, who conquered, ruled, flourished, and passed away.

    • Replies: @Old Palo Altan
  92. @Anonymous

    Two aspects of gladiators are rarely discussed but can be reasonably assumed from the historical literature:

    1) Gladiators probably had dual roles as body guards and enforcers for various factions. If Donalus Trumpicus or Bilio Clintonius pays for a small army of trained killers, you probably do not want to cross paths with their faction, joke about their political (or marital) indiscretions, etc. Historical writers likely hint at this when say owning a group of gladiators was prestigious. It also plausibly explains how high profile women came into contact with gladiators to create scandals.

    2) There were probably two classes of gladiators — the trained gladiators portrayed in movies and captured enemy soldiers, who were likely fodder. This seems to be tentatively supported in the literature. Any time there was an “incident” where the show did not go as planned (i.e., gladiators killed themselves before the show, refused to fight, etc.), they were enemy captives who realized their death was likely imminent anyway.

  93. @keypusher

    Washington Irving (one of whose closest friends was my gt gt grandfather – I have a portrait of the two of them conversing together) could afford to be gracious, for Islam was no threat in his blessed time.

    Today they threaten indeed, and to overwhelm us; in a country as definitive of what the West is capable of as France they are close to displacing us. We have no more time left for an insouciant admiration of their transient accomplishments; like the Spanish of old, we must gird our loins for a re-conquest without which we are doomed.

  94. nebulafox says:
    @The Alarmist

    Constantinople was dedicated by Constantine a century and a half before the Western empire collapsed, so, yeah, that’s accurate. I would say that Byzantium in the 6th Century still belonged to classical antiquity. Justinian and Belisarius were both native Latin speakers from the European mainland: that’s part of what motivated their attempts at reconquest. They felt a connection to the old Roman Empire in a way that just didn’t exist for later generations of Byzantines.

    It was the rise of Islam that really ended classical antiquity and ushered in the medieval age, IMO. During this time period, the Eastern Roman Empire underwent a period of ruralization and decline in literacy that mirrored the West, albeit it was nowhere near as extreme and classical culture remained alive in Constantinople in a way that it wouldn’t in the West until the Renaissance. In order to survive at all, Rome had to morph into a state focused on survival: it consolidated itself around Anatolia and Greece. This marked a definite shift in self-image from extroverted Romans exporting civilization to a more introverted, “chosen people of the true faith” one. By the time that expansion became a viable option again, Islam had solidified itself and wasn’t going away, as was the separate identity of other European powers (particularly the Franks) laying claim to the real legacy of Rome, so the new role was as a player in a multipolar world, not as a hegemon.

    • Replies: @Cortes
    , @The Alarmist
  95. @Jon

    From memory the ball was made of dense rubber, and the only legitimate way of moving it was by hitting it with your hip.

    The losing team were executed (if Western accounts are correct, which is unlikely).

  96. JMcG says:

    Well, Hemingway considered it one of the three true sports. Hemingway was, for all his talent, garbage as a human being. I’ve never been to a bullfight, and I’m sure I never will, but I think it’s seen as more of a tragedy than a sporting event. It’s completely alien to me. I do hunt, and the death of an animal is not to be taken lightly.

    • Replies: @Dube
  97. @Steve Sailer

    I don’t think it’s necessary to have town-based parochial teams; Melbourne had 12 suburb-based teams from the early 20th century until the 1980s, and routinely got crowds of 50,000 for ‘marquee’ games between bitter rivals. The final in 1970 attracted 121,676 – the city’s population at the time was about 2.5 million.

    There were suburban train lines – but also trams.

  98. @Reg Cæsar

    Heron of Alexandria used steam power to drive mechanisms for coin-operated ‘attractions’, and had plans for a steam-power fire engine.

    It was not a failure of imagination, but a failure to obtain capital. (Doubtless the fire-protection scam that made Crassus the wealthiest man in Rome, was still dominated by corrupt fuckbags in the time of Heron).

    Heron also devised a method for obtaining square roots that (as far as we can tell) cannot be made more efficient. (I learnt that in the 1970s, and it was still true in about 2004, so it might be wrong now). [Update: yes, it is wrong now, on two counts. Heron didn’t devise it – he only recorded it, and it was devised much ealier by Babylonians; secondly it can be made more efficient by pre-scaling).

  99. JMcG says:
    @Jack D

    Your last phrase is terrific, I’m going to remind my kids of that several times a day.

  100. JMcG says:
    @Old Palo Altan

    See, this comment right here is why I keep coming back. That’s the way to smash it back over the net!

  101. @The Alarmist

    There were sausages in Byzantium. Sometimes they were called salsikion. They consisted of pork and they would dip them in mustard.

    • Replies: @lysias
  102. @bruce county

    One could say The Big O in Montreal as well but that has been a billion dollar fiasco to this day. Its more of a run down parking garage now.

    Olympic sucked the life out of baseball. Only the Metrodome was worse, mainly because it deafened you. They really should have built Jarry up, incrementally if necessary, into a French Fenway.

    The best thing about the Kingdome was the fire escapes, where people escaped to smoke. It relieved the claustrophobia.

  103. Cortes says:

    I doubt that the tradition will die soon. In small towns in the north of Spain the novillos (calf fights) were very popular last time I passed through.

    A shout out for the best parody I’ve ever read: “Felipe Marlo, Bullfight Shamus” by an American, Hugo Hosch. Five star excellence.

  104. Keypusher says:
    @Old Palo Altan

    Whatever. That doesn’t mean you get to pretend the Alhambra is ugly, or the Muslims were interlopers in Spain.

  105. nebulafox says:
    @Old Palo Altan

    What’s going to happen if large amounts of younger, dispossessed European males end up embracing Islam as a more “masculine” religion, though, try to make it theirs, and use it to enact socially conservative policies-including on European identity and assimilation? I don’t think the Eurocrats either want or are prepared for that scenario, but it is far from implausible, considering the moribund state of Christianity in Western Europe, the innate tendency of human beings for religiousness, and the total lack of appeal of the cosmopolitan multiculturalism that they favor.

    As far as I can see it, traditional conservatives in Europe have a choice: they can align themselves with the Muslims in their shared disdain for effete postmodernism, or they can align with non-SJW left-wing secularists against Islam in a shared defense of Enlightenment values against a thoroughly non-castrated programmatic faith. They don’t have the power to do both anymore.

    • Replies: @Cortes
  106. Keypusher says:

    The U.S. built a lot of ballparks from the 1870s onward. The first I can find with a listed capacity of over 10k was the Philadelphia Phillies’ first version of Baker Bowl, which went up in 1887 with a capacity of 12,500.

    Anyway, to answer your question, it seems like the first purpose-built entertainment structures to seat over 10,000 since the Romans were built in the US and the UK in the 1870s and 1880s. Kind of amazing, really.

  107. The Plaza de toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla is a 12,000-capacity bullring in Seville, Spain. The first version was builty in 1731, but replaced with this version in 1749, but finished in its final form in 1765.

  108. Cortes says:

    Christians in Europe have to take back their churches from the gay mafia which has infiltrated successfully.

    Not just the RCs. All denominations.

    A recent positive step locally has been hook-ups between churches, supermarkets and foodbanks to provide help to people in pressing need. Real practical help ignored for too long by “friends of Dorothy” whose main interest seems to be how they look in clerical garb.

  109. @Old Palo Altan

    ‘Today they threaten indeed, and to overwhelm us; in a country as definitive of what the West is capable of as France they are close to displacing us. ‘

    But that’s almost entirely because you choose to let them.

    All France et al have to do is just close their borders. If they can’t bring themselves to do that, it’s a bit ridiculous for them to complain about the consequences and threaten ‘retribution.’

    Suppose I post my bank account info and pins here on this site — and tell everyone they’re welcome to take whatever they feel they need? Who should I blame for the consequences?

    Islam isn’t ‘threatening to overwhelm’ anyone; you’re lying down, spreading your legs, saying ‘free rides,’ and then complaining about what happens.

    Try closing your legs. Then you won’t get fucked.

  110. Cortes says:

    1453, the fall of Byzantium, led to the flight of scholars who revived awareness of the classics in the West.


    • Replies: @nebulafox
  111. @Clyde

    The first major league baseball parks (as they were called) were made of all wood and some caught fire.

    Soccer stadiums in England too! 56 people died at a stadium fire in Bradford in 1985.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @YetAnotherAnon
  112. nebulafox says:


    Left out, of course, is the fact that Hoover was far kinder to those “dissidents” than they would have been to their opponents, had they gotten even the shred of a chance to enact their utopian, mass murder filled fantasies. Might as well call the members of the Nazi Bund “dissidents”: after all, at least they didn’t actually plan to blow up buildings!

    Yes, yes, I know that being better than the Bolsheviks is not exactly a high moral bar to cross, I know that J. Edgar Hoover was not a nice man, and unlike some people here, I’m not stupid enough to actually believe that letting plutocrats run amok is anything approximating a good idea. But still, by the tone of this article, you’d think that Hoover and Palmer were dealing with the Selma marchers, not open terrorists who wished to obey the disturbing new Russian government’s calls to throw the world into chaos and bloodshed.

    While nobody would seriously entrust the folks at the New Yorker with anything more politically significant than a block watch-we hope!-one can’t help but note that it speaks volumes about their detachment from reality that they think that all of this is an argument in *favor* of mass unchecked immigration. But then again, they seem to also think the fate of the indigenous peoples of the Americas is also an argument for that, too…

  113. nebulafox says:

    Agnosco veteris vestigia flammae. 😉

    • Replies: @Cortes
  114. slumber_j says:
    @Old Palo Altan

    I never found myself bored in there at all, and I’ve been at least half a dozen times. But whatever.

  115. slumber_j says:
    @Jack D

    Generally speaking, truly great art emerges when you are constrained by rules and conventions and not free to do whatever the hell you want, because 99 times out of 100, whatever the hell you want is not a good idea.

    I am a poet, and that’s exactly right.

  116. Cortes says:

    Vestigia is about right considering that the fragmented copy of the first year law course primer by Gaius (c 161 AD) discovered by Niebuhr is held to be a jewel of Classical civilisation.

  117. slumber_j says:

    I’m not arguing at all that the resurgent Christians shouldn’t have done whatever they wanted. My point is only that, in context, it sucks.

    We all make mistakes.

  118. JRB says:

    Yes, that is because over the last two centuries the sport became a refuge for Frisian language speakers. This language is in general decline. Newcomers don’t learn it and are therefore also far less inclined to play and watch the sport.

  119. Yngvar says:
    @Steve Sailer

    It is altogether fitting and proper that a greenhouse marks the end of the Little Ice Age misery.

  120. Lurker says:
    @Colin Wright

    They used both (stone and concrete).

  121. Lurker says:

    I should point out that this didn’t happen every time. Most soccer fans were not yobs.

    It was also BR practice to run these trains with the oldest rolling stock.

    One hooligan outfit made explicit reference to this, calling themselves the Inter City Firm – ICF:

    So called because they used the more up market Inter City services to travel to games, rather than grubby football specials.

    See also Leeds United Service Crew:

    The Service Crew were formed in 1974 and is named after the ordinary public service trains that the hooligans would travel on to away matches

  122. @The Alarmist

    It depends on what you mean by Romans. If you mean Greek-speaking subjects and citizens of Romania and the ascension of Constantine being considered the founder of that state, then yes. If you mean, Latin-speaking Romans of the Republic, then no. If you mean contemporary Romans during the period 800AD, then no. Byzantine Romans labelled them allophyli which in Greek means other race.

  123. Anonymous[119] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jonathan Mason

    Back in the day, many of Britain’s soccer stadia – even for ‘premier league’ clubs, were little more than tin-pot and tar paper open sheds – which also did double service as public toilets for the yobs which infested the grounds. There were numerous mass casualty ‘stampede’ crushing events. The 1989 Hillsborough disaster is the most well known, but there was another disaster at the Glasgow Rangers ground at Ibrox in 1970 – strangely enough the old Ibrox wooden stadium collapsed, with many fatalities back in the early 1900s.
    The Taylor Report requiring compulsory all seated stadiums, put an end to that. It was bitterly resisted by the Football Association – English soccer’s governing body – on the grounds of cost. The tendency was in those days to neglect stadium safety as much as possible in order to spend as much as possible on players and executive perks. Another point is that fans were kept in what were officially termed ‘pens’, that is segregated chicken-wired enclosures, in order to curtail hooliganism. These pens contributed greatly to the Hillsborough casualty list.

  124. Anonymous[119] • Disclaimer says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    In fact, turbine driven steam engines, as opposed to the piston version – which of course fuelled the industrial revolution – are the more efficient version, and it appears that the ancient Greeks hit upon the turbine before even considering the piston.

    The mystery is why the ancient Greeks never fully developed the steam engine. Undoubtedly they had the talent and engineering and metal work skills to do so. One needs only to look at the gearing of the Antekhrya mechanism.

  125. @YetAnotherAnon

    “Romans were big on seating, but not the Brits.”
    Not sure of details here, but didn’t Brit’ football stadiums only move to all-seating stadiums sometime in the early 90’s ?
    Of course, the terraces were almost notorious for their tendency to encourage public disorder, & “hooliganism”. Is it a coincidence or my imagination that British football hooliganism declined as seating increased? I still remember British hooliganism: was it Millwall or Chelsea who would smash up an opposition supporter, & leave a business card on the prostrate body saying roughly — “nothing personal, but you have just been serviced by the Chelsea (etc) anti-personel squad”. Now, that’s real class !

  126. danand says:

    Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 350K – May 2004



    Though I’m guessing this post is really all about the Golf; which incidentally is fine by me.

    The US big cahoona – TPC Scottsdale-Stadium Course is listed @ 350,000 seating capacity.

    big golf

  127. Hibernian says:

    It was a repurposed railroad station when steam trains were banned south of a certain line in Manhattan, an east west street, I don’t remember which one. Grand Central Station was established as a result. Later the limit of steam tn operation was moved north, and electrification of the railroad was necessary.

  128. Hibernian says:

    The Wigwam was the site of the very historic 1860 Republican convention and may have been built for that purpose, or at least completed not long before that convention.

  129. Hibernian says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    Cities should have told the teams that demanded separate stadiums financed with public money to get lost.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  130. @Jonathan Mason

    “56 people died at a stadium fire in Bradford in 1985”

    Most of the deceased were those who went down to the metal exit gates behind the stand – no one at the club thought to open them, and the fire brigade didn’t have the gear (0r took too long) to force them open. People were roasted to death behind these gates, with firemen just on the other side.

    Most of the people in the stand went down to the front and climbed onto the pitch – they lived.

  131. @nebulafox

    I might mark the end of classical antiquity to roughly the first half of the seventh century, but the spread of Islam was only a symptom. The Byzantines and Sassanids (Persians for all intents and purposes here) engaged in several decades of warfare that severely weakened both of those great empires, leaving the door wide open to the spread of Islam, with a total overrun of Persia and a loss of much of the periphery of Byzantine holdings in the levant and parts of Med. It also marked to the almost total dropping of Latin as an official language at the court in Constantinople.

    I would imagine the Chinese will become our modern day equivalent to the Sassanids, whether they like it or not.

    • Replies: @nebulafox
  132. lysias says:

    Salsikion? Interedting. One of the words in Spanish for “sausage” is “salchicha”.

  133. lysias says:

    Bullfights are currently held in the Roman arena in Nimes, France, capacity 25,000. Also, the Roman arena of Arles, capacity 20,000.

  134. Muggles says:

    I guess that there are no architects or large building engineers reading this article recently. Or CCP Chinese paid trolls who infest comments on Unz on China related articles. My point is that the far east or Indian subcontinent is not mentioned.

    Other than horse races I don’t think most Indian/Asian/Near East societies had outdoor team sports or any other sports. But there were very large cities in some places in Asia so it is feasible that there were large outdoor spectator venues. Other than Marco Polo and a handful of other western visitors to China/SE Asia, and some Muslim scholars/travelers, very few credible accounts in the West have documented large cities there in antiquity or before these places “opened up.” Some Indian cities as well as in SE Asia were quite large. Again, as noted above in comments, most places holding large audiences were built of wood and didn’t last long.

    Hence the Roman Coliseum is the only one standing that had huge capacity. When you visit as a tourist places that had large populations centuries ago, very little is left not built of stone. Even some of that burned when internal wooden supports burned. So we see palaces.churches, mosques, etc. standing but not much else. Most of what stands now won’t last 200 years, or less.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  135. Art Deco says:

    I think she might have been the 1st to win.

  136. @Keypusher

    Who said anything about ugly? I said it was barbarous, which does not exclude a certain charm or even a species (an inferior one) of beauty.

    What is lacking is the balance and the restfulness to the eye which the perfect proportions of Charles’s court possess in full measure.

  137. An interesting and plausible scenario, but one which will not manifest itself until the alternatives of either a Christian or a Right-secularist counter-attack prove themselves illusory.

  138. @Lugash

    Reasonable that some mega-churches resemble mosques in the lack of ornamentation. Presumably many or most mega-churches belong to dissenting protestant congregations (or sadly to their so-called “pastors”) who take rather rigorously the commandment against graven images. My own mid-century Methodist childhood church was as free from any images as, I imagine, the typical mosque. 60+ years on, even stained-glass windows seem slightly creepy to me.

  139. @Muggles

    And a lot of cut stone buildings were dismantled to build new stone buildings. E.g., the Temple of Diana in Ephesus, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, was dismantled and shipped hundreds of miles to build St. Sophia in Constantinople. The theater in Miletus may have survived largely because, while the stadium used to be right on the waterfront, the harbor silted up and it’s now 5 miles inland, so it was too expensive to move the cut stones. Or maybe it’s mostly concrete? I don’t remember.

    In Bodrum/Halicarnassus, the Mausoleum, another Wonder, was dismantled and turned into the harbor fort by Crusader knights around 1400.

  140. @Hibernian

    Cities should have told the teams that demanded separate stadiums financed with public money to get lost.

    Hartford, Winnepeg, and Quebec City did. San Francisco, too, but the Giants stayed.

    However, separate stadiums proved to be a better deal in the long run than multipurpose ones. Kansas City had to save its money for that desegregation deal.

  141. Dissident says:
    @Jack D

    Generally speaking, truly great art emerges when you are constrained by rules and conventions and not free to do whatever the hell you want, because 99 times out of 100, whatever the hell you want is not a good idea.

    Well-put, and applies to much more than just art.

    Bring back the Hays Code!

  142. @Keypusher

    Whatever. That doesn’t mean you get to pretend the Alhambra is ugly, or the Muslims were interlopers in Spain.

    The Taj Mahal is among the most beautiful buildings in the world. The man who built it was perhaps not the monster his son was, but was hardly the model husband legend makes him out to be:

    Some claim it wasn’t even his:

  143. @Jack D

    Frank Gehry said his most difficult commission was the one on which the client insisted on giving him total freedom.

  144. nebulafox says:
    @The Alarmist

    Yeah, I’d agree that the rise of Islam was more of a marker of the end than a cause. (Only fitting that the year Justinian died, Muhammad was born.) One also can’t leave out the deletrious effects of the bubonic plague in the demographic collapse of both great empires. Rats don’t survive out in the desert, so the Arabs didn’t get hit nearly as bad.

    I’d argue that the dropping of Latin as the court language of Constantinople was already well in the making, though, even before the West fell. The cultural divergence between the eastern and western halves of the Roman Empire was always there, even during the good old days, and at the height of the Pax Romana, Greek was still the every-day language of administration outside of military affairs and maybe the highest levels of empire-wide edicts.

    >I would imagine the Chinese will become our modern day equivalent to the Sassanids, whether they like it or not.

    Fun fact: the Tang in China allowed the surviving members of the Sassanid dynasty to set up a court-in-exile in their capital.

  145. Dube says:
    @Art Deco

    Yes, thanks. I’ve replayed this scene in my mind over the years and I see that few details were lost or altered. The blue collarless remain fixed in silence. We could perorate with the growl of the union boss in On the Waterfront, “Okay, let’s get to work!” except that the deadly threat of Livia is of another order – another class. And she knows how to apply its powers and privileges. It’s not her brawn that holds these able beasts at bay.

  146. Dube says:

    I’ve never been to a bullfight, and I’m sure I never will, but I think it’s seen as more of a tragedy than a sporting event.

    Yes. In short, it’s not a sport, it’s a ceremony.

  147. @Charon

    So we are comparing the killing of a bull to the mass murder of human beings, are we? Doesn’t really seem comparable, does it?

  148. rienzi says:

    Have been to the mosque/cathederal in Cordoba, and it is a unique building. However, without the cathedral having being built in the middle, I would bet that the mosque itself would have been torn down sometime in the following years.

  149. @Reg Cæsar

    The multipurpose stadiums were great for many purposes, besides football and baseball. Most were destroyed because of our attachment to pathological real estate development, not because they were terrible for football or baseball.

    • Replies: @Muggles
  150. Muggles says:

    Almost no multipurpose stadiums of any size for large cities were “great” as some claim. Football and baseball have different sized/shaped playing fields and even soccer pitches are different from American football fields.

    The very few remaining multipurpose stadia are now being torn down. It isn’t “mania” for real estate development but political clout by pro team owners, nearly all of whom are (now) billionaires or close to it. They don’t actually build their own stadiums (usually, there are a few). Instead bonds are sold by local “sports authorities” or some other quasi government entity which doesn’t pay taxes and often is the recipient of various hotel/lodging/entertainment taxes levied at events or by the hotels, etc. The theory is that locals won’t be paying those, just visitors. “And look at all of those visitors at the Super Bowl (or Playoff game)!”

    Since special purpose stadiums hold more fans and can generate more revenue, have better sight lines, etc. you get mostly single use stadiums. One of the first covered stadiums in modern times was Houston’s Astrodome, now vacant but sucking in tax dollars to pay off bondholders. I have seen both football and baseball games there. Was also used for playoff college basketball and the local (big time) rodeo. And many concerts. Still, it was a poorly conceived idea. Seating was far from players, acoustics bad, AstroTurf needed inventing, still pretty awful, etc.

    No real estate moguls involved. Just team owners and taxpayers. And local fans who wanted to support “the team” and bought the lie that others from far away were the suckers paying for it.

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