When I visited the Roman ruins of Italica, I couldn’t help but think of the movie Gladiator. You know, the one where Russell Crowe played Maximus, the bad to the bone gladiator who “made” the smolder long before the name Edward Cullen entered the homes of pre-teen girls. Italica is located just outside of Seville, Spain and it was one of the first places I visited during my semester abroad there.
Italica was founded in 206 BC by the Roman general Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus as a means of settling Roman soldiers that had been wounded in the Battle of Ilipa, where the Carthaginian army was defeated during the Second Punic War. The name Italica tied the colony to their Italian origins. The Roman emperor Trajan was born there and it was he who rebuilt public buildings including the amphitheater which seated 25,000 spectators making it the third largest in the Roman Empire.
While I would go onto to visit THE epicenter of the Roman Empire a couple of months later (if you don’t know where I’m talking about I’m shaking my head in disappointment at you right now), Italica was a pretty cool introduction to Roman ruins. The Roman Empire stretched everywhere just about back in the day, including what is the modern day Iberian Peninsula. Yes, you can go to Rome to see Roman ruins galore but don’t forget they’re also in places that don’t always immediately come to mind.
If you’ve ever seen the film, these trees reminded me of the scene at the very end of Gladiator when he is returning home in his mind to his wife and son. He was after all the “Spaniard.”