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The Roman Games: Historical Sources in Translation (Blackwell Sourcebooks in Ancient History) [Paperback]

Alison Futrell

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Table of Contents




1. The Politics of the Arena.

Origin and Growth of Games.

Games and the Roman State.

Origins of Gladiatorial Combat.

Origins of Wild Animal Shows.

Roman Spectacle Overseas.

Spectacle and Roman Politics.

Politics and Shows.




Shows as Political Assemblies.

Imperial Spectacle.

Ordinary Spectacle.

The Emperor and the Arena.

The Emperor as Spectator.

Imperial Spectacle as Political Forum.

Gladiators Outside Rome.

2. The Venue.

Republican Arenas.

No Theaters Please.

Temporary structures in Rome.


Disaster and control.

The Colosseum.

Mixed edifices in the Western Empire.

Military amphitheaters.

Special Features.


Features of the Circus Maximus.

Circus as Cosmos.


Stratification and Seating.

3. A Day at the Games.

Preparation and pompa.




The Armatures.

The Combats.

Good spectacles vs. Bad Spectacles.

The Other Show: Audiences at the Games.

Dangerous Games.

Power of Life and Death.

Special Treats.

Food, Spectacular Food.


Inaugural Games at the Flavian Amphitheater.

Commodus Games.

Tainted by the Crowd.

4. The Life of the Gladiator.

Where did gladiators come from?.

Prisoners of War.

Condemned Criminals.

Slave gladiators and the Spartacan War.

Gladiators and status.

Free Gladiators.

Choosing gladiatorial status.


Life in the ludi.

Death or Survival.

Sexy Gladiators.

Death and Choice.

Gladiator familiae.

Female performers: gladiatrices and ludia.

Crimes of status: elites in the arena.

Imperial gladiators.

5. Christians and the Arena.

Rome and the Christians: the official relationship.

The Neronian Persecution.

Trajan s Policy.

Christian denunciation of the Arena.

The arena and Christian identity.

Martyr Acts.

Christian Rome and the arena.

6. Chariot Races and Water Shows.

Chariot Races.

The Events.


The Horses.

The Colors.

Circus Fans.

Emperors as Fans.

Fan Clubs and Unrest.

The Nika Revolt.

Water Shows.

Timeline of Roman History.

Glossary of Terms and Names.


Suggestions for Further Reading.


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