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Changing Times

The Colosseum is an ancient stadium in Rome, Italy. ROGER COULAM—GETTY IMAGES

Ancient Times

Today, people from around the world visit the ruins of the Colosseum. The drawing on the right shows the stadium as it looked long ago.


Rome is an ancient city in Italy. For more than 500 years, it was the center of a great empire. The city’s wealth and power can be seen in monuments monument FRANCISCO DIEZ PHOTOGRAPHY/GETTY IMAGES a building, statue, etc. that honors something from history (noun ) The Lincoln Memorial is an American monument that was built to honor President Abraham Lincoln. that are still standing.

One of the grandest is the Colosseum. This stadium was built about 2,000 years ago. It held 50,000 people. Romans went there to watch battles between trained fighters, called gladiators. These warriors wore armor and fought with swords. They were heroes to their fans.

Beneath the arena were passages. Wild animals were kept there. Sometimes, a lion, wolf, or bear was brought into the arena. Could a gladiator survive a fight with the ferocious ferocious MLORENZPHOTOGRAPHY/GETTY IMAGES wild and likely to attack (adjective) A black bear is a ferocious animal that can hurt or kill humans. beast? The crowd would cheer as their hero fought a bloody battle.

Modern Rome

The Stadio Olimpico is where Romans go to watch the city’s soccer teams compete. The stadium has also hosted World Cup games and the Olympics.


Sports are still important to Romans. But today, their favorite game is soccer. In Rome, soccer is known as football. The game is played in the Stadio Olimpico. The arena can hold 74,000 people.

Rome has two teams. They are fierce rivals rival DMYTRO AKSONOV—GETTY IMAGES a person or thing in competition with another (noun) The city's two football teams are longtime rivals. . Players charge up and down the field. They shoot for a goal. There’s action off the field, too. Fans wave flags and sing songs. When a goal is scored, the stadium erupts erupt PW_erupts KLAUS VEDFELT—GETTY IMAGES" to burst out; to explode (verb) The audience erupts with laughter. in cheers.

Soccer games take place on Sundays. But for Romans, soccer is a part of everyday life. All week long, fans talk and argue about soccer. They are loyal to their teams. To them, soccer players are heroes.