Essay about An Integral Component Of Roman Society

727 Words Nov 14th, 2016 3 Pages
The munera were an integral component of Roman society, both for the common people and for ambitious politicians. Unlike the annual state sponsored games held strictly in honour of the gods (ludi), the munera were funded by private individuals and were associated with funerary celebrations for the majority of the Republic period . For the spectators, these games provided entertainment, as well as reaffirmed the social order, power and authority of Rome. For the sponsors, the games were an opportunity to gain the favour of the people and compete with political rivals.

Individuals who funded the munera dedicated them as a gift to the people, and they became more frequent and detached from funerary events during the imperial period1. Before this, funerary munera of upper class men were almost exclusively the only occurrence of gladiatorial contests. Although all forms of public entertainment had some form of religious significance, the munera became especially associated with the imperial cult after the decline of the Roman Republic1. A typical munus would include wild beast displays and hunts (venationes) in the morning and gladiatorial fights and criminal executions (damnati) at the end of the day. This structure was used to confirm Rome’s power over both the natural and social enemies of the Empire.

The venationes played a very important part in the munera by establishing the dominance of civilization over the natural world. Dangerous wild animals were obtained from…

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