The Plundered Jewish Money That Built the Colosseum

The largest amphitheater of the ancient world, Rome’s Colosseum still attracts visitors even in its ruins. It was constructed under the emperors Vespasian and Titus, who suppressed the Judean Revolt, sacked Jerusalem, and destroyed the Second Temple. As Yvette Alt Miller explains, these details are connected:

Visitors to the ancient Colosseum in Rome are awed by its sheer size. Measuring 620 by 512 feet, it’s a massive structure; six-and-a-half football fields could fit inside its space, with room to spare. Rising four stories into the sky, the Colosseum has 80 entrances and used to hold more than 50,000 spectators who flocked to this landmark to watch games during the height of the Roman empire.

Titus became emperor . . . in 79 CE and launched a vast building project to transform Rome. The centerpiece of his program was building a huge arena near the Forum which could seat 50,000 viewers and host the most lavish games that Rome had ever seen. (It was named . . . after a nearby massive statue of the emperor Nero, called the Colossus.) The Colosseum was funded by booty from the Jewish War, and likely was built at least in large part by Titus’ 50,000 Jewish slaves.

Construction took ten years. It was grueling, backbreaking work, under the scorching sun of burning Roman summers. It’s unknown how many slaves died during its construction; their deaths, like their names and their lives, are lost to history.

Funded by the booty of Judea, including the precious golden and silver vessels and decorations from the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, the Colosseum could not have been more different from the source of wealth which enabled its construction. Where the Jewish Temple has been a vehicle for holiness, the Colosseum housed an orgy of death.


More about: Ancient Rome, Jewish history, Judean Revolt

To Save Gaza, the U.S. Needs a Strategy to Restrain Iran

Since the outbreak of war on October 7, America has given Israel much support, and also much advice. Seth Cropsey argues that some of that advice hasn’t been especially good:

American demands for “restraint” and a “lighter footprint” provide significant elements of Hamas’s command structure, including Yahya Sinwar, the architect of 10/7, a far greater chance of surviving and preserving the organization’s capabilities. Its threat will persist to some extent in any case, since it has significant assets in Lebanon and is poised to enter into a full-fledged partnership with Hizballah that would give it access to Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee camps for recruitment and to Iranian-supported ratlines into Jordan and Syria.

Turning to the aftermath of the war, Cropsey observes that it will take a different kind of involvement for the U.S. to get the outcomes it desires, namely an alternative to Israeli and to Hamas rule in Gaza that comes with buy-in from its Arab allies:

The only way that Gaza can be governed in a sustainable and stable manner is through the participation of Arab states, and in particular the Gulf Arabs, and the only power that can deliver their participation is the United States. A grand bargain is impossible unless the U.S. exerts enough leverage to induce one.

Militarily speaking, the U.S. has shown no desire seriously to curb Iranian power. It has persistently signaled a desire to avoid escalation. . . . The Gulf Arabs understand this. They have no desire to engage in serious strategic dialogue with Washington and Jerusalem over Iran strategy, since Washington does not have an Iran strategy.

Gaza’s fate is a small part of a much broader strategic struggle. Unless this is recognized, any diplomatic master plan will degenerate into a diplomatic parlor game.

Read more at National Review

More about: Gaza War 2023, Iran, U.S. Foreign policy