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Postcard from Rome, Italy

The Colosseum and the Boxer

Dear Classical Wisdom Kids,

Welcome to another Postcard from the road. As you may know, we’re currently on something of a “Junior Grand Tour.” That is, for the next five months (or so), we’ll be visiting some of the most important sights and scenes from the ancient world... and bringing you our findings in this space along the way. 

Thanks for joining us.

Our little family numbers three – Anya, whom you may know as the founder and director over at Classical Wisdom; Frida, our wide-eyed eight-year old keeping us on our toes; and Father Knows Best, i.e. he who is glad to carry the bags and counts his happy fortunes just to be along for the ride. (I also do a bit of writing on the side.)

Ordinarily, we make our home in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It was sometime during the lockdown there when Anya and I began seriously looking at “alternative” schooling for Frida. We’ve always traveled a lot, preferring experiences over “stuff,” and our minds are never far from the wonders of the Old World. 

Why not combine both? A love of learning and adventure... with real world experience?

You might think of it like “away schooling,” a kind of wayfaring variant on the increasingly popular homeschooling movement. (Some people prefer to call it “un-schooling” or “non-schooling.” Whatever works for you and your family.)

The Greeks had a word for this kind of wandering learning: peripatētikós (from which we get peripatetic) literally means “of walking" or "given to walking about.”

Most often, this is a concept associated with Aristotle and his followers. Unlike many of his contemporaries (including his teacher, Plato), Aristotle was not an Athenian citizen and was therefore not permitted to open property there. Thus he was given to walking while teaching, which he did among the grounds of the Lyceum and along its many peripatoi (literally “walkways,” some covered with colonnades) and during his extended travels around the region. 

We’ll have more on our “away schooling” philosophy in future postcards but, for now, we’ll hand it over to the main attraction.

This week we learned about the most famous amphitheater of the ancient world, the colosseum, by... you guessed it, walking around it (in the rain, no less). Frida has the details...

Postcard from Rome

By Frida Bowman

Hello again...or, if you’re just joining us, hello for the first time!

My name is Frida and I write these postcards once a week with my daddy. We write them Mondays and send them to you on Tuesdays. 

Make sure you have about 3,000 umbrellas in your hand for this story... because there is a lot of rain involved. 

Since we last wrote to you, we went to Rome a few times. Once, we saw the Colosseum. We took a train to get there (which was fortunately not the wrong one). It takes about one hour to get to Rome. To come back, it takes one fruit salad (which means me eating a giant fruit salad with blackberries in it).

But let’s just stick to the Colosseum. The Colosseum is a very big, ancient building. It’s round and a little dirty and very, very run down. The Colosseum is very tall and has quite a lot of arches. It also has lots of very beautiful tunnels underneath. It was built by Vespasian, but he didn’t get to see it finished because he died. But look on the bright side, his son, Titus, built the rest of it for him and threw a big party. 

While I was there I thought about the ancient gladiators fighting with tigers. I also thought, who would want to fight with tigers? Mom said it was for entertainment. Then, it started to rain, which made me think about how they once flooded the Colosseum and reenacted a battle with ships. That would have been a little scary. 

Another time, we went to a museum and saw lots of statues, including many heads, aka, busts. One statue is called “The Boxer.” This is a bronze statue which also has copper (a type of metal) for his lips, cuts and blood. He looked as if he had been in a big fight and deserved a sorry...but they weren’t going to give him one. It felt like he was saying, “Whaaaat?”

After that, we came back to Tivoli. It has been raining non-stop since then. 

Until next week, bye! (Or as the Italians say, “Ciao!”)


That’s all from us today!

Keep a watch out for Thursday, where we will include the full Colosseum story, with games, activities and printables for our Classical Wisdom Kids Club.

If you haven’t already joined our growing Kids Club, make sure to subscribe today and unlock ALL the wisdom:

All the best,

Joel and Frida

Classical KIDS
Frida's postcards from our travels and from her friends around the world
Joel Bowman