The Roman Games Essay

1162 words - 5 pages

Question : Who were the spectators at Roman games? Discuss the relationship between them and the performers they watched.

Gladiator fights were first introduced to Rome in 264 BC, when the sons of Junius Brutus paid honor to their fathers funeral by showing three pairs of gladiators fight. This ritual caught on and was performed to honor significant men. As the years passed, the ceremonies became more promoted and emperors began to present the games to symbolize their power.

The citizens of Rome loved to go to these bloody warfares. In the city of Rome, these events were held in the Colosseum. An arena so large that it could hold 50,000 spectators and host fights ...view middle of the document...

Although some gladiators fought wild animals, the combats usually featured a pair of male human contenders. They fought in diverse styles depending on their background and how much training they had endured. Originally as captured soldiers, they were made to fight with their own weopons.

There were also strong sexual references to the gladiator. The word gladius, for sword, was used to mean penis, their helmets were also, occasionally, shaped in the form of a phallus. Even the dead, defeated gladiator, had something sexual about him. It was customary for a new bride to have her hair parted with a spear, at best one which had been dipped, \"in the body of a defeated and killed gladiator\", a lot of evidence like this suggests that there was a close link, in some Roman minds, between gladiatorial fighting and sexuality. Males however, were not the only gladiators, there was a time under Caesars reign when women were also fighting in the Colosseum.

The games continued from dawn to dusk and lasted for many days. The imperial games would sometimes exhibit thousands of gladiators in a sequence that could last for several months.

The Romans had many different notions than we have today on what a criminal was and how to deal with them. One of the most popular ways was by forcing them to fight in the Colosseum, for the Romans this was a symbol of the ordered world, and it was the Emperor who brought the public that order. In certain provinces, the execution of criminals ,wild beasts, which were also considered a plague to the world, took place in association with various cult-centres and ceremonies honoring the Emperor. The execution of criminals, and wild beasts in the colosseum came to symbolize good government.

The punishment of criminals did not just concern the convict, his victims and the state, but instead, those that share views from a certain society of what constitutes unacceptable behaviour subject to publicly proclaimed legal penalties. In order to reassure the public that proper social order is being restored, punishment needs to be made public in some way. For example, today we rely on media like television, to show the general public that criminals are being punished. The Romans put trust in the colosseum to bring \"justice\" to the public.

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