Arena: The Story of the Colosseum (1973)
In the year AD 80 the Colosseum opened with quite the longest and most nauseating organized mass orgy in history. It was a mammoth celebration on the grandest scale, a fitting inauguration for an arena built to epitomize all the majesty and power of the Roman Empire, a building which also held the seeds of that Empire's decay and destruction. As well as his vivid account of the erection of the Colosseum, Pearson discusses the origins of death spectacles and their evolution into highly organised games intended to enhance imperial prestige and provide the populace with an effective substitute for politics and war.
First publication: 1973 (Thames & Hudson)
FUN FACT: at the end of the 1960s, John ended up in Rome, living near what used to be the Circus Maximus. La dolce vita and Rome's past conspired to create this book
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