The Roman Games: Historical Sources in Translation

Front Cover
Alison Futrell
John Wiley & Sons, Feb 9, 2009 - History - 253 pages
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This sourcebook presents a wealth of material relating to every aspect of Roman spectacles, especially gladiatorial combat and chariot racing.
  • Draws on the words of eye-witnesses and participants, as well as depictions of the games in mosaics and other works of art.
  • Offers snapshots of “a day at the games” and “the life of a gladiator”.
  • Includes numerous illustrations.
  • Covers chariot-races, water pageants, naval battles and wild animal fights, as well as gladiatorial combat.
  • Combines political, social, religious and archaeological perspectives.
  • Facilitates an in-depth understanding of this important feature of ancient life.
 

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Contents

1 The Politics of the Arena
1
Games and the Roman state
2
Origins of gladiatorial combat
4
Origins of wild animal shows
7
Roman spectacle overseas
8
Spectacle and Roman Politics
11
Costs
14
Control
18
Tainted by the Crowd
117
4 The Life of the Gladiator
120
Prisoners of war
121
Condemned criminals
122
Slave gladiators and the Spartacan war
125
Gladiators and status
130
Free gladiators
132
Choosing gladiatorial status
134

Violence
22
Shows as political assembly
24
Imperial Spectacle
29
Ordinary spectacle
30
The emperor and the arena
33
The emperor and political spectacle
36
Gladiators outside Rome
43
2 The Venue
52
Republican Arenas
53
Temporary structures in Rome
57
Amphitheaters
59
Disaster and control
61
The Colosseum
62
Military amphitheaters
66
Special features
67
Features of the Circus Maximus
73
Circus as cosmos
76
Naumachiae
77
Stratification and Seating
80
3 A Day at the Games
84
Venationes
89
Munera
94
The armatures
95
The combats
99
Good Spectacles vs Bad Spectacles
103
Audiences at the Games
104
Dangerous games
107
Special treats
110
Food spectacular food
111
Inaugural Games at the Flavian Amphitheater
113
Commodus Games
115
Glory
135
Life in the Ludi
138
Death or Survival
143
Sexy Gladiators
146
Death and Choice
147
Gladiator Familiae
148
Gladiatrices and Ludia
153
Elites in the Arena
156
Imperial Gladiators
158
5 Christians and the Arena
160
The Neronian persecution
161
Trajans policy
163
Christian Denunciation of the Arena
165
The Arena and Christian Identity
169
Martyr Acts
172
Christian Rome and the Arena
186
6 Chariot Races and Water Shows
189
The events
191
Charioteers
198
The horses
205
The colors
207
Circus fans
210
Emperors as fans
213
The Nika revolt
215
Water Shows
218
Timeline of Roman History
222
Glossary of Terms and Names
229
Notes
232
Suggestions for Further Reading
245
Index
248
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About the author (2009)

Alison Futrell is Associate Professor of Roman History at the University of Arizona in Tucson and author of Blood in the Arena: The Spectacle of Roman Power (1997). Her current research interests are in representations of gender and power, both in the ancient past and in modern popular culture. Her recent projects include the cultural history of Spartacus and a monograph on Barbarian Queens.

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