The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity and the Renewal of Civilization by Thomas Homer-Dixon

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The Upside of Down includes a detailed treatment of the amount of energy needed to build the Roman Colosseum and to run the Roman empire.

For interested readers, details of these calculations are available at the following links:

A summary of the project's logic, calculations & results: Colosseum Project Walkthrough PDF (43 pages: 2.2Mb)

Details of the calculations in spreadsheet form: Colosseum Calculations Excel spreadsheet (167Kb)

A list of assumptions underlying these calculations: Colosseum Calculation Assumptions PDF (7 pages: 213Kb)

Karen Frecker's sensitivity analysis of her calculations:
Colosseum Sensitivity Analysis PDF (1 page: 120Kb)


This research was carried out by Ms. Karen Frecker an energy analyst based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Read more about Karen Frecker >



The Colosseum in Rome
The Colosseum in Rome