Giovanni Lattanzi

The stone block from the Colosseum. Visible today is a Latin inscription mentioning that the structure was refurbished by one Lampadius, who funded reconstruction efforts in the fifth century C.E. A closer look at the original portions of the stone (center and far left) reveals a series of holes along three pairs of parallel lines, which once held pegs on which were fastened the metal letters of earlier inscriptions. Author Louis Feldman describes how a renowned scholar of “ghost” inscriptions deciphered the original dedicatory inscription made by the emperors Titus and Vespasian when the Colosseum was first built. These reconstructed inscriptions, Feldman goes on to explain, suggest how the Colosseum’s massive construction effort was financed.