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Roman Games: Historical Sources in Translation (Blackwell Sourcebooks in Ancient History) Hardcover – 23 Jan 2006

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A lively and wide–ranging collection of sources on Roman public spectacle. Alison Futrell has made an excellent selection and she introduces and links the extracts with very lucid and helpful commentary. This book will be enormously beneficial for students and helpful to scholars too.
Jonathan Edmondson , York University, Toronto <!––end––>

This excellent book promises to be an invaluable resource for anyone interested in the violent entertainments of the Roman arena. Futrell s collection of sources enables readers to see the broader context of the games, offering a first rate collection of material for life outside the amphitheater, as well as for events that took place within it.
David Potter, University of Michigan

"Futrell′s main purpose is to provide interesting, unusual material, and this she does ... Her brief explanatory notes are insightful, learned and intended to provoke further research. Those interested in ancient Rome will welcome this fine sourcebook ... Highly recommended."

"This very useful book provides a wide–ranging collection of sources of different types on this ever–popular branch of Roman civilisation, offering valuable insights into aspects of Roman public entertainment. . . a worthwhile purchase for the school library."
Journal of Classics Teaching

From the Back Cover

This sourcebook presents a wealth of material that casts light on the rich tradition of Roman spectacle, with special focus on gladiatorial combat and chariot racing. Drawing on literary descriptions, inscriptions, reliefs, mosaics, and archaeological features, The Roman Games offers a range of political, social, and religious perspectives.

Featuring the accounts of eyewitnesses and participants, the book reconstructs the experience of a day at the games and the expectations of the life of a gladiator.

The editor provides historical framework and analytical commentary for each of the entries, as well as a glossary of technical terms and a timeline to give additional context for students and general readers.

Inside This Book

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First Sentence
The great games of the ancient Mediterranean grew out of religious holidays to become spectacular celebrations of the divine pantheon, events that not only called upon divine support to ensure continued prosperity for the state, but also offered an elaborate, formalized series of actions that encouraged, even required, the participation of an expanded human audience. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Intriguing and insightful look at the Roman Games 10 Dec. 2008
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This wonderful book will answer all your questions about the Roman games. Included are pictures of various Roman arenas and many well chosen early sources about the games.

Spectacle and pagan religious rites combined in the games, and the games themselves grew ever more lavish, and ever bloodier, as the empire expanded. "From fairly early days, animals had been part of the religious festivals...meant to guarantee the good-will of Rome's gods" (p 7).

Futrell examines the politics behind the games, with men like Caesar currying support of the mob by putting on games. "The shows offered the opportunity for the audience to express popular feeling on important matters" (p 24) although Ciecero acknowledges that "claques could, through rehearsed chants, manufacture a false 'will of the people'" (p 25).

Among the many condemned who were dragged to the arena to be killed were Christians. "The real crime committed by the Christians was...refusing to participate in public religion, Christians threatened everyone by provoking the rage of the gods" (p 162).

To give you an idea of just how popular the games were in ancient Rome, consider this: One temporary amphitheater collapsed, according to Tacitus and Dio Cassius, and that killed 50,000 people.

Chariot races, gladiators, and water sports are also included in this in depth exploration of the games.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Thoroughly researched and scholarly, excellently done 16 Jun. 2009
By JackDaniels7 - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book provides numerous accounts of ancient Roman sources, from Ovid to Cicero. The author's work is thorough--Futrell's guiding passages are juxtaposed between translated passages from Ancient Rome, weaving the entire book together. This books is excellent for researching the overt political nature of Roman games and probably one of the best guides for researching the nature of the gladiator. The ancient passages which Futrell selects are entertaining and informative. Just remember that poets, such as Ovid, have been translated for a strictly serviceable purpose of illuminating the games, and have been stripped of their poetic appeal. This actually helps the book, as it merges with the lively and scholarly prose without turning it into a laborious effort of poetic study.
As a book to use for both academic work and reading, this is a fulfilling text. There are many excellent passages and a clearly defined bibliography in the back, making it easy for inquisitive readers to find source texts and pursue their own branches of research. Highly recommended.
Valuable book. 18 Nov. 2013
By Tim Tomlinson - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book met my expectations and was useful for my research on the use of sport and spectacle in Rome.
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