Essay Fin

Submitted By TashaC1995
Words: 1426
Pages: 6

Why was entertainment so central to Roman politics and society?

Throughout history, every civilization has had its own form of entertainment. In Ancient Rome, the form of entertainment enjoyed by all was situated in the arena and the theatre. Gladiator and animal fights were bloody, full of gore and death, yet it was these spectacles that were so popular among the officials and the public in Ancient Rome. Emperors such as Julius Caesar and his adoptive son Augustus used these spectacles to promote their leadership, gain higher offices, as well as create a memorable lasting impression on the public. Entertainment was crucial to Roman politics and society, it helped to bring the city together, and created a bond between emperor and people.

Entertainment in Ancient Rome was a chance for thousands of people to gather together in different arenas and theatres to witness enchanting and terrifying performances put on by the four aediles, the praetors, the consuls, as well as the emperors. (Kohne & (eds), 2000) For the general public these games were a chance to gather amongst each other. It is no secret the Romans enjoyed the gore and violence of these games. The public craved it. The producers of said games began to create higher levels of bloodshed and sophistication within the games to please the public. The Roman games had many different aspects, they began from religious festivals and public games (such as ludi Romani, ludi Plebeii, ludi Florales) that honoured Gods. (Beacham, 1999) Throughout the year many different games were held, each lasting between a few days and many weeks. However, if anything happened to go wrong during the game, if the ceremony was interrupted in any way, then the game would start again from the beginning due to the practise of instauration. (Beacham, 1999) Key features of the games included chariot races, animal fights (including wild and exotic animals), gladiator fights, as well as theatre performances. (Lewis, 1990) The most popular sport was chariot racing, which would involve between two to four horses. (Beacham, 1999) The circus was another popular display of entertainment among the public. The Circus Maxima involved exotic animals, dancing slaves, and performers. (Beacham, 1999)Entertainers were slaves in these times, they were forced to fight against one another and were often prisoners. These prisoners had committed some crime that had upset the officials of Rome and were then pitted against monstrous beasts. All these different types of entertainment were costly to the empire, and they were paid for by men who were wanting to make a mark on the public and further there political careers. (Lewis, 1990) It became essential to aspiring politicians to put on a good show for the public to be elected into a higher office. (Parkin, 2008)An extremely lavish event was usually linked to a funeral of a high official or a large military triumph. (Beacham, 1999) This is because the idea of entertainment in Ancient Rome, wasn’t for a few people to get together and enjoy a performance, it was a large public event that could last for days. In terms of society, for the rich it was essential to be seen at these large public events, it was a sign of wealth and power to be seen sitting in the imperial box. The consuls used these games as a way for the people of Rome to let out their violent urges. (Lewis, 1990) The games were always a magnificent spectacle, and many historians including Livy, Plutarch and Petronius had written on how these spectacles were loved by the public who craved them.

Julius Caesar is one of the most well-known politicians ever to rule in Ancient Rome. Born into a political family, he steadily rose through the political ranks. He began as a quaestor in 68 BC, then was elected to aediles in 65 BC. (Kohne & (eds), 2000) While serving as an aedile he was responsible for the Ludi Romani as well as the Megalenses (both huge games in the social calendar). He borrowed vast amounts of…