Sanisera Field School, Session no. 5: Roman spectacle, by Jessica Di Benedetto
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Sanisera Field School, Session no. 5: Roman spectacle, by Jessica Di Benedetto






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  • -Scipio Africanus hosted munera in Spain in 206 BC, one of the largest munera to be held in Spain, to commemorate the death of his uncle and father five years earlier.
  • Urso = modern day Osuna. Amphitheatres have been found outside the walls of many Spanish and Portuguese towns, most spectular at Taracco, Italica and Emerita.

Sanisera Field School, Session no. 5: Roman spectacle, by Jessica Di Benedetto Sanisera Field School, Session no. 5: Roman spectacle, by Jessica Di Benedetto Presentation Transcript

  • Roman SpectacleGames and entertainment in the Ancient world Jessica Di Benedetto Session 5, 2010
  • “The consequences of Roman Imperialism,however, was not so much Romanization asthe forging of distinctive Romano-Iberian,African, Gallic or British cultures through thefusion of local and Imperial elements.” –Garnsey and Saller
  • “To some extent, Roman presentation oflavish events was meant to demonstrateRoman capacity beyond the military, toshow that, culturally, Rome was fully ableto engage in leadership.” - Futrell
  • Munera – games organised by a privatebenefactor as a display of personal largesse,importance and power.Ludi – state organised games, usually inconjunction with a religious festival.
  • “People spent much of their free time at thepublic entertainment provided in the towns.Charters of towns like Urso show that by theend of the republic public games had becomeinstitutionalised and celebrated annually.”- Keay
  • Tarraco
  • Italica
  • Emerita
  • “The games in the amphitheatre lasted forfour days, consisting on animal baiting andgladiatorial combats. In the latter gladiatorsfought either mock contests with bluntedweapons or battles to the death. Thebullfights of today are, in some ways, heirs tothis tradition.” - Keay
  • “An even more extravagant form ofentertainment was the staging of mocknaval battles (naumachiae) in the largeramphitheatres. The arena was flooded,and specially trained gladiators foughteach other on board ships.” - Keay
  • Pollice Verso – Jean-Léon Gérôme (1872)
  • “...the sponsorship of circus games is muchbetter attested in Spanish euergisticinscriptions than are other forms ofspectacle. Enjoyment of the circus,moreover, went unchallenged by theadoption of Christianity. Thus people keptgoing to the circus at Toledo not justthroughout the fourth century, but wellbeyond it.” - Kulikowski
  • “...nam qui dabat olimimperium fasces legiones omnia, nunc secontinet atque duas tantum res anxius optat, panem et circenses.” – Iuvenal“A body that used to confer commands,legions, rods, and everything else, has nownarrowed its scope, and is eager andanxious for only two things: bread andgames.” - Rudd
  • BibliographyPrimary SourcesJuvenal, Satires x, trans Rudd, N., Oxford University Press, Oxford(1991)Secondary SourcesFutrell, A., The Roman Games: A Source Book, Blackwell Publishing,Oxford (2006)Garnsey, P., & Saller, R. P., The Roman Empire: Economy, Society, andCulture, University of California Press, Berkeley (1987)Keay, S. J., Roman Spain, University of California Press, California (1988)Kulikowski, M., Late Roman Spain and its Cities, Johns HopkinsUniversity Press, Baltimore (2004)