Spectacles In The Roman Empire

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Spectacles in the Roman Empire The spectacles were an important tool for social cohesion in the Roman Empire. These spectacles started to fill the city of Rome even before the Empire began to increase its power throughout other lands. What started as something with an entire religious background, soon would become only a political tool that would serve politicians to control people and make them change their opinions on the serious issues that their government or Empire were living at that time. The religious emphasis that the spectacles had in their beginning also changed from paganism to Christianity. Ultimately, emperors were the ones who turned spectacles from paganism into a political tool, and finally into something secular. Spectacles …show more content…
In his book, The Religious Experience of the Roman People, William Warde Fowler explains how the year was divided into two groups of days. The first group were the dies fasti. During these days, people were allowed to make business transactions. The other group of days were the dies nefasti, when making business transactions was a sacrilege. These days were considered as religious and people had to give them to the gods. Therefore, for dies nefasti, priests organized different ceremonies called feriae in honor of a different divinity each time. That word was changed and ludi came to be the word used to talk about ceremonies during dies nefasti. As H. H. Scullard says in his book Festivals and Ceremonies of the Roman Republic, there were some games that appeared in scene: the oldest one was the ludi Magni or Romani, in honor of the dedication of Jupiter Optimus Maximus in 509 B.C. Other important games that started were called ludi Megalenses, ludi plebeii, Apollinarian games, dedicated to Apollo. In the time of the Roman Empire, the number of games quickly increased because of the fame that the emperor could acquire during his kingship. This is what John Balsdon presents in his book Life and Leisure in Ancient Rome, “In each principate it became customary to make an annual festival of an emperor’s birthday, of his day of accession, of his notable victories, …show more content…
The circus was the people’s favorite spectacle and the place where more people could attend. In addition, Friedlander points out another important characteristic of the circus, this was the only place where men and women could sit together. These people attended the circus especially to see horse races. Obviously, what they had to do in this place was gambling, bets. From those bets, charioteers accumulated a huge fortune and had a good influence in the population. However, survival charioteers were an exception at that time because of the danger that that work represented for their lives. The popularity of the charioteers increased gambling in the Empire and Juvenal tells us that some “men who wanted to conquer a woman did insane bets.” Therefore, population was very involved in racing and gambling and they were passionate

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