Ancient History Assessment – Colosseum
Entertainment was as important in Ancient Roman times as it is in our familiar sense of today. Although Ancient Romans wouldn’t turn on their televisions or radios and listen to the results of last night’s game, they would go and see the fun, enjoyment or even the horror of the ghastly butcheries of the amphitheatre where a large variety of events would be put on display for any and all citizens of Rome. These events consisted of a diverse exhibit of battle re-enactments, gladiatorial tournaments, animal hunts, executions and other public spectacles such as dramas based on Classical Roman mythology and speeches. After its completion in 80AD, the Flavian Amphitheatre which was later renamed to the Colosseum attracted all levels of citizenship from the lower class Plebeians (women, children and the poor) who were seated at the back of the theatre to the Patrician elites (the wealthy, generally men) who were seated at the front. All up the theatre could accommodate about 50,000 spectators, making it the largest amphitheatre in the Roman Empire and adding to the already expanding entertainment industry of the time. This newly constructed arena in the heart of Rome would be used to influence the citizens in favour of the emperor and would impact on daily life and be the main conversational piece between citizens. However, among such enthusiasm for the Roman games, much criticism and censure arose describing the games as savage and cruel and a method for the aristocrats of Rome to gain political dominance over the people. Whilst most plebeians relished in the barbaric and gruesome nature of the games, well-educated Patricians inscribe in great amounts of literature a much different perspective not swayed by the biases and influences of the imperial throne. Tertullian (160 – 225 AD) argues in one of his best known writings, De Spectaculis (On the Spectacles – p. 201AD) the unpleasant consequences and moral legitimacy of...
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