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LUDI is a general term comprising the various spectacles and contests of the circus and amphitheatre (ludi circenses), and those of the theatre (ludi scenici) and stadium.

1. Kinds of games.--In their legal aspect we may divide the games into public and private. (a) Public. Originally the games were religious ceremonies, the two oldest being the Equirria [EQUIRRIA] and Consualia [CONSUALIA], held in honour of Mars and Consus. But games were frequently vowed (ludi votivi) on the eve of or during times of war (for a long list see Friedländer, ap. Marquardt, Staatsv. 3.476, note 7), especially to Jupiter (hence called ludi magni, maximi: Festus, s. v. Magnos Ludos), which gradually came by custom to be solemnised every year, and afterwards established by law as annual (Liv. 1.35, 9) [LUDI ROMANI]. During the time of the Republic there were seven such games,--the ludi Romani, Plebeii, Ceriales, Apollinares, Megalenses, [p. 2.85]Florales, Victoriae Sullanae. The first two were called sacri, because they had an epulum connected with them (D. C. 51.1). These two, as well as the Apollinares, had also a day set apart for the equorum probatio. During imperial times many new games were added. The birthday feasts and games (ludi natalicii), celebrated in honour of the reigning emperors (called τὰ γενέθλια, whereas τὰ γενέσια were those celebrated in honour of dead emperors), were allowed by even the most modest of the Caesars, e. g. Antoninus Pius (see Capit. Ant. Pius, 5); but they seem to have been retained after death only for those emperors who were consecrated (ib. 13). Mommsen (in C. I. L. i. p. 380) derives from the Calendar of Philocalus (constructed 354 A.D.) a list of nineteen such birthday games as were celebrated at that date. These games were nearly always circensian, as were also those celebrated in honour of the day the emperor ascended the throne (ludi natalis imperii). Only in the case of Sept. Severus (D. C. 78.8) were the latter games retained beyond the time of the reigning emperor (cf. Capit. Pertinax, 15). Ludi votivi, too, were often instituted after a war, e. g. the ludi Parthici (perhaps on Sept. 18, Trajan's birthday), instituted by Hadrian in celebration of Trajan's Parthian war (D. C. 69.2, and Reimar ad loc.); and such are frequent in the Constantinian period, e. g. Ludi Alemannici (Oct. 5-10), Gottici (Feb. 4-9), Sarmatici (Nov. 25-Dec. 1), &c.; see a list in C. I. L. i. p. 376. (b) Private. Besides these ludi publici, there were ludi privati, especially ludi funebres. Though the whole people took part in them, still they are private games, as being given by private individuals and not by the state. The ludi funebres were celebrated on the ninth day after death, hence sometimes called ludi no-vendiales (Serv. ad Verg. A. 5.64). Gladiatorial exhibitions in the Forum were frequent at these games (indeed were not given elsewhere during republican times), in accordance with the old belief that human blood should flow over the grave of a dead man (Serv. ad Verg. A. 3.67; 5.78). The beginning at Rome of gladiatorial contests, which came from Etruria and Campania, dates from the funeral games of D. Junius Brutus in 264 (Liv. Epit. xvi.; Mommsen, R. H. 2.412). Exhibitions of gladiators were often ordered by will to be given at the funeral of the testator (Cic. Vat. 15, 37; Sulla, 19, 54; Hor. Sat. 2.3, 84). Dramatic representations were also held at funeral games: e. g. the Adelphi was acted at the funeral games of Aemilius Paullus in 160 B.C. Generally the games only lasted one day, and only a few pairs of gladiators fought; but at the funeral of M. Aemilius Lepidus (Liv. 23.30, 15), in 216 B.C., the games lasted three days, and twenty-two pairs of gladiators fought; at those of M. Valerius Laevinus, in 200 B.C., the games lasted four days, and twenty-five pairs fought (Liv. 31.50, 4); while at those of P. Licinius in 183 B.C. the games lasted three days, and 120 gladiators fought (Liv. 39.46, 2), a very large exhibition indeed (cf. Liv. 41.28, 11). It was thought disgraceful for women to be present at ludi funebres, and P. Sempronius Sophus, consul in 268 B.C., sent a divorce to his wife because she attended funeral games (V. Max. 6.3, 12; Plut. Quaest. Rom. 267). Another kind of ludi privati were those given by people of high rank voluntarily, on occasions of great public rejoicing, such as Stella's games in 93 A.D. (Mart. 8.78: cf. Pers. 6.48). For giving such games, non-senators had to get permission from the senate (D. C. 60.23). These games were perhaps the ludi honorarii referred to by Suet. Aug. 32, for which thirty days in the year had been set apart. Augustus reconstituted these as working days. Ludi honorarii appear to have been most constantly given at the Liberalia (Fest. p. 102, and Müller's note). Private exhibitions, to which special invitations were issued, were often given by the emperors; such as the LUDI PALATINI the JUVENALES. Such also, too, were given by Caligula (Suet. Cal. 54), Nero (Tac. Ann. 14.44), Commodus (Lampr. Comm. 8), Cara-calla (D. C. 79.10), Elagabalus (Lampr. Elag. 23), &c.

In the Calendar of Philocalus (354 A.D.) several other public games are mentioned, devoted to gods, but they are of little importance. The principal are on Jan. 7 to Janus; April 1, to Venus Verticordia (Macr. 1.12, 15); April 5, to Quirinus; April 8, to Castor and Pollux; May 29-June 1, Fabarici to the goddess Carna (Macr. 1.12, 31; Ov. Fast. 6.101 ff.); July 23-24, to Neptune (Tertull. Spect. 6); Aug. 5 (Cic. Att. 4.1, 4), to Salus; Sept. 29-30, to the Fates; Oct. 19-22, to the Sun; Nov. 1, to Osiris and Isis (C. I. L. 1.405).

According to their intrinsic nature, the games may be divided (cf. Cic. de Leg. 2.1. 5, 38) into (1) ludi circenses [CIRCUS], which include both the races in the circus and the gladiatorial shows [GLADIATOR], and baitings of beasts [VENATIO] in the amphitheatre [AMPHITHEATRUM]; (2) the ludi scenici, or dramatic and spectacular shows in the theatre. [COMOEDIA; TRAGOEDIA; THEATRUM; HISTRIO; MIMUS; PANTOMIMUS.] To these are to be added (3) the Greek contests of musicians and athletes, strictly called Agones. The performances and performers of the first two kinds are sufficiently treated in the articles referred to. Here we must say a word on the Agones. These contests were first introduced into Rome by M. Fulvius Nobilior in 186 B.C. (Liv. 39.22, 2). In 169 B.C. we are told that Aemilius Paullus gave similar shows at Amphipolis, in which the Romans were quite unversed (Liv. 45.32, 9-10). And at the triumph of L. Anicius Gallus in 167 B.C. it was attempted to give a musical exhibition, but the people made the performers box instead of playing the music: that was the only sort of ἀγὼν they understood (Plb. 30.13). In the last century of the Republic we hear of Sulla (App. BC 1.29), Scaurus (V. Max. 2.4, 7), Pompeius (D. C. 39.38), Curio (Plin. Nat. 36.120), and Caesar (Plut. Caes. 39) giving exhibitions of athletes. Such contests were not appointed to occur at regular intervals till imperial times. Then there were three principal agones: (1) the Actia; (2) the Agon Neroneus; (3) the Agon Capitolinus. The first two are described in the articles LUDI ACTIACI and QUINQUENNALIA The Agon Capitolinus was [p. 2.86]established in 86 A.D. by Domitian (Suet. Dom. 4), and celebrated every fourth year in early summer (Herodian, 7.8, 3; and Clinton, Fasti Rom. p. 252). It lasted till the end of antiquity (Friedländer, S. G. ii.3 620-1), and even into modern times: for it was on Easter Sunday 1341, on the Capitoline hill, that Petrarch was crowned (Gregorovius, Gesch. der Stadt Rom, 6.207-216; Gibbon, 8.227, ed. Smith). It comprised contests in Greek and Latin poetry, Greek and Latin oratory (the subjects being the praises of Jupiter Capitolinus and Domitian, Quint. Inst. 3.7, 4; Suet. Dom. 4), and music, for which Domitian built a covered theatre (the Odeum) in the Campus Martius (Preller, Regionen, 169), and in the same place he built a stadium for the athletes who contended in boxing, wrestling, and the pancratium (Friedländer, op. cit. 616-620, an important collection of evidence). Originally there was a foot-race for girls (Suet. l.c.). The victors were crowned with oak-leaves (Mart. 4.1, 6). For the other agones, which were mostly gymnastic, such as the Agon Minervae of Gordian, and the Agon Solis of Aurelian, see Friedländer, op. cit. 467.

2. The Length of the Games.--They originally lasted each only the portion of one day (Liv. 45.9, 4; Mommsen, R. H. 1.472). From one day they gradually increased during the Republic,--the Ludi Romani to 15, and after Caesar's death to 16, the Ludi Plebeii to 14, the Ceriales to 8, the Apollinares to 8, the Megalenses to 7, the Florales to 6, and the Ludi Victoriae Sullanae to 7: i. e. 66 in all. Of these the Ludi Romani had 5 dies circenses, the Ludi Plebeii 3, and the rest one each: i. e. 13 in all. (See the Calendar in C. I. L. i. and p. 377.) Various games were added during the Empire: in the time of M. Aurelius there were 135, and in 354 A.D., when the Calendar of Philocalus was drawn up, there were 175 (C. I. L. i. p. 378). Gradually, too, the whole of each day came to be filled up with events, beginning from early morning (Cic. Fam. 7.1, 1; Nat. Deor. 1.28, 78; Suet. Cal. 26, Claud. 34), and continued on into the night (Suet. Cal. 18, Dom. 4; Tac. Ann. 14.20, 16.5) on a memorable occasion with living torches (Tac. Ann. 15.44). Night festivals probably began with the Floralia (Ov. Fast. 5.361 ff.); and the part of the secular games celebrated at night was the most important. After 61 B.C. there was a pause in the middle of the day for the audience to get their dinner (D. C. 37.46); and this period was filled up, at least in the case of the circenses, with the exhibition of inferior gladiators, the meridiani. It was during this pause for dinner on one of the days that the giver of the games feasted the people, if he did feast them; though sometimes the epulum lasted for more than one day (Vell. 2.56). But we hear of viands being also brought into the circus and the theatre (Stat. Silv. 1.6, 28 ff.; Mart. 5.49, 9; cf. Suet. Dom. 4).

3. Instauratio (Macr. 1.11, 5).--The anxious scrupulousness with which the Romans observed ritual is often insisted on (for examples, see Liv. 5.17, 2; 32.1, 9; 41.16, 1). So in the case of the games Cicero tells us (de Harusp. resp. 11, 23): “Si ludius constitit aut tibicen repente conticuit aut puer ille patrimus et matrimus si tensam non tenuit aut lorum omisit aut si aedilis aut verbo aut simpulo aberravit, ludi non sunt rite facti eaque errata expiantur et mentes deorum immortalium ludorum instauratione placantur.” That is, that in any such case when the games were performed non rite, non recte, minus diligenter, they had to be held over again, either entirely or the ceremonies of certain days were performed again. The strict phrase for the repetition of the games in their entirety was ludi toti instaurati sunt; that for the repetition of the ceremonies of certain days was ludi (semel, ter, quinquies, or per unum diem, per triduum, per quinque dies) instaurati sunt. See a long list of examples in Weissenborn on Liv. 23.30, 16. Games so repeated were called instaurativi (Cic. de Div. 1.2. 6, 55). Sometimes the games were repeated as often as ten times, owing to faults purposely committed by the performers who were interested. This was put a stop to by the Emperor Claudius, who forbade the Circenses to be renewed for more than one day, with the most salutary results (D. C. 60.6). For further details on instauratio, see Ritschl, Parerga zu Plautus u. Terenz, p. 311 ff.

4. The Givers of the Public Games.--(a) Consuls. In order that they might be binding on the people, ludi votivi had to be administered by a magistrate with the imperium, usually then by the consul (Liv. 30.2, 8; 27, 11; Cic. pro Sest. 55, 117; D. C. 48.32, 56.1, 60.23). The Ludi Romani were administered by the consuls till the appointment of the curule aediles in 366 B.C. After that the consuls had only the presidency in these games (Liv. 8.40, 2, 45.1, 6; Mommsen, Staatsrecht, i.2 397). The fact was, the giving of the games held out too great opportunities of bribery for the higher magistrates (Mommsen, op. cit. ii.2 129). But in imperial times the consuls were appointed to administer the Ludi Actiaci on Sept. 2 (D. C. 59.20), the birthday of Augustus on Sept. 23 (ib. 56.49; cf. C. I. L. i. pp. 401-2), and probably many others (ib. p. 377). The shows of gladiators given by consuls elect date from the beginning of the second century A.D. (Dig. 35, 1, 36, pr.). The first evidence of the games given by the consuls on their entry into office, which became so important in the fourth century (C. I. L. i. p. 382), appears to be Fronto ad Marcum, 2.1. But in the early Empire the consuls were expected some time or other during their year of office to give shows (cf. Epictet. Diss. 4.10, 21); and though even in the time of Claudius this was considered a great burden (D. C. 60.27), the custom continued (ib. 61.6; Vopisc. Aurel. 12, 12). Alexander Severus lessened the expense of the consuls and defrayed part of it himself (Lamp. Alex. Sev. 43; D. C. 80.5). (b) Aediles. From the time of their appointment in 366 B.C., they were given the administration of the Ludi Romani (cf. Liv. 6.42, 13), and gradually they had entrusted to them the administration of all the other games except the Ludi Apollinares, which were administered by the praetor urbanus (Liv. 25.12, 10), as were also the Ludi Piscatorii (Festus, s. v.). The Ludi Plebeii were held by the plebeian aediles, and so too were the Ludi [p. 2.87]Ceriales. Cicero (Cic. Ver. 5.14, 36) indeed implies that the latter were celebrated by the curule aediles; but the Cerialia was the plebeian counter-feast to the Megalensia of the patricians (Gel. 18.2, 11; Mommsen, Staatsr. ii.2 509). After 44 B.C. the administration of the Ludi Ceriales was most probably transferred from the curule aediles to the newly-appointed (D. C. 47.40) plebeian aediles Ceriales. The Ludi Megalenses and Florales were held by the curule aediles (Cic. Verr. l.c.; Mur. 19, 40; Liv. 34.54, 3; D. C. 43.48). In 22 B.C. Augustus took the cura ludorum from the aediles and gave it to the praetors (D. C. 54.2), after which time any games given by the aediles were voluntary (ib. 54.8; Capitol. Gord. 3). (cPraetors. They had the charge of the Ludi Apollinares and Piscatorii during the Republic. But in imperial times we find the urban praetors (this is probably the meaning of τῶν στρατηγῶν τῶν πάνυ in D. C. 78.22) administering the Ludi Megalenses (Juv. 11.193, and Mayor's note), Florales (Suet. Galb. 6), and gladiatorial shows (D. C. 55.31). The Augustalia were administered by the praetor peregrinus (Tac. Ann. 1.15). A special praetor Parthicarius (Wilm. 1167) was appointed to superintend the Ludi Parthici of Trajan (D. C. 69.2). Lots seem to have been cast as to which praetor should give the games (ib. 59.14). The son of Symmachus was praetor urbanus when he gave his celebrated games (Symm. Epist. 4.69). For the praetorian games of the post-Constantinian period at Constantinople, see Gothofred. Paratitlon to Cod. Theod. 6.4, init. (d) Quaestors. Gladiatorial exhibitions during the Republic were confined to the private funeral games. In imperial times they were given as public games, and are strictly called munera, not ludi. In 47 A.D. we find the duty of giving these munera imposed on the quaestors in lieu of paving the streets (Suet. Cl. 24; Tac. Ann. 11.22, 13.5). This was discontinued in 54 A.D., from which time till the age of Domitian (Suet. Dom. 4) it was only occasionally and voluntarily that the quaestors gave such shows. From the time of Domitian the munera, though fewer than the ludi, became, however, regular entertainments (Hirschfeld, Verwaltungsgeschichte, p. 177). In the time of Alexander Severus it was only the quaestores candidati principis who had to give the games at their own expense, and as a reward they were advanced at once to the praetorship (Lampr. Alex. Sev. 43). The rest got a subsidy from the treasury and were called quaestores arcarii (Lampr. l.c.; Mommsen, Staatsr. ii.2 518, 522). (e) Curatores. The emperor in virtue of his consular power (D. C. 60.23)--for it was the consuls who gave extraordinary games (cf. Hirschfeld, l.c.)--often gave very brilliant games, which were administered by curatores ludorum or curatores munerum. The procuratores munerum (Wilm. 1285, cf. 1243), according to Mommsen (op. cit. ii.2 911, notes 1, 2), were permanent officials, the curatores those appointed for a special occasion (Suet. Cal. 27; Tac. Ann. 13.31; Plin. Nat. 37.45). For further, see Hirschfeld, op. cit. pp. 175-8.

5. The Cost of the Games (see especially Marquardt, Staatsv. ii.2 85-87).--The cost of the games was defrayed partly by the state and partly by the giver of the games. The state part was called lucar [LUCAR], because it was originally the revenue from the produce of the sacred groves (luci), which was devoted to the games (Festus, s.v. Plut. Quaest. Rom. 88, p. 285). For the ludi votivi a definite sum (pecunia certa) was voted (in Liv. 31.9, 7, the sum is indefinite, and that is mentioned as an exceptional circumstance), usually 200,000 asses (cf. Mommsen in Rhein. Mus. xiv. p. 87), as it was also for the Ludi Romani till the Punic Wars (Dionys. A. R. 7.71; Ascon. p. 142, Or.). In 217 B.C. the sum voted was 333,333 1/3 asses (Liv. 22.10, 7). For the Ludi Apollinares in 212 B.C. the state gave 12,000 asses (Liv. 25.12, 12); in 51 B.C., for the Ludi Romani, 760,000 sesterces, for the Ludi Plebeii 600,000, and for the Apollinares 380,000 (see the Fasti Antiates in C. I. L. 1.328, 329),--sums which fell so far short of the actual amount expended that the magistrates who gave the games had to resort to the help of their friends and to extortions from the provincials to supply what was considered necessary (Liv. 40.44, 11; Cic. Q. Fr. 1.9, 26). The people sometimes made subscriptions among themselves towards the expenses of the games: e. g. in 186 B.C. for the games of Scipio Asiaticus (Plin. Nat. 33.138), in 37 and in 27 B.C. (D. C. 48.53, 53.24); but such were unusual and did not go far. We know that Scaurus expended vast sums on the games he gave in 58 B.C. (Plin. Nat. 36.113), and that Milo expended three patrimonies (Cic. Mil. 35, 95) in giving his extra-splendid games (ad Q. Fr. 3.8, 6). The expense in fact was so enormous that in 28 B.C. no senator could take the aedileship (D. C. 53.2). Augustus did not allow one praetor to give more than another to the games (ib.); in 17 B.C. we find him allowing them to give three times the grant of the state (ib. 54.17); in 7 A.D. the money paid to them for gladiatorial shows was withheld by the state (ib. 55.31); but in the Ludi Augustales the tribunes were not allowed to defray the whole expense themselves (D. C. 56.47; Tac. Ann. 1.15). The state always continued to make grants (cf. Spart. Hadr. 3), and sometimes advances to be repaid (Fronto, Ep. ad Verum, 6, 9); while in a somewhat opposite direction it tried to limit the expenses of the games (Suet. Tib. 34; D. C. 68.2; Capitol. Ant. Pius, 12). But the enormous sums expended on the games may be seen from what has been said about the games of Scaurus and Milo, from what Martial (5.25, 10) tells us that the chariot-races sometimes cost 400,000 sesterces (4,000l. nearly), from the case of Symmachus, who though not one of the richest senators expended 2,000 pounds of gold (= 80,000l. about), and Justinian's games, which cost 288,000 solidi (=220,000l. about). For further details, see Friedländer, Sittengesch. ii.3 276-278.

The games accordingly were splendid. As a sample, take those which are elaborately described by Calpurnius, Ecl. vii., and commented on by Gibbon, 2.58-60, ed. Smith; those given by Trajan, and described in D. C. 68.15; and the games of Symmachus, by Friedländer, op. cit. ii.2 319 ff. For enactments on the games in the post-Constantinian period, see Cod. Theod. [p. 2.88]xv. titles 5, 6, 7, 9, especially the latter on the expenses of the games.

6. The Audience.--In early times slaves were not allowed to attend the games (Cic. Har. Resp. 12, 26); nor were any strangers present except state-guests. But in later times slaves certainly as a matter of fact used to frequent the games (Columella, R. R. 1.8, 2; Dig. 21, 1; 65, pr.; 10, 3, 1-5; Juv. 6.353), and also strangers (Ov. A. A. 1.173; Mart. Spect. 3). Apparently by law reserved seats were retained for the magistrates, e. g. consuls (Cic. Att. 2.1, 4), praetors (Suet. Nero 12), tribunes (D. C. 44.4), priests and vestals (Arnob. adv. Gentes, 4.35, an important passage), some of the public apparitors (Tac. Ann. 16.12), and many of the officially recognised collegia (Hübner, ap. Marquardt, 3.471, note 7). The emperor had a regular closed--in box (cubiculum), which Trajan opened, so that he could be seen like any other spectator (Plin. Panegyr. 51; Suet. Nero 12). The actual seats were doubtless corresponding to the rank of each individual; e. g. the curule magistrates had a sella curulis, the tribunes a subsellium, &c. It was a custom frequently practised to give a free seat in perpetuity to a distinguished man and to his descendants (V. Max. 4.4, 8; Cic. Phil. 9.7, 16); this we find as early as 494 B.C. in the> case of M. Valerius Maximus (C. I. L. i. p. 284; cp. Liv. 2.31); and occasionally a curule seat was dedicated in memory of a great man after his death (D. C. 44.6, 53.30; Tac. Ann. 2.83; C. I. L. 6.912). Those who had reserved seats could transfer them to another for the performance (Cic. Mur. 35, 73), and in the time of C. Gracchus, on the occasion of a show of gladiators, we read that several of the magistrates erected seats which they tried to sell, encroaching on the space which the people ought to have enjoyed (Plut. C. Gracch. 12). If we may judge from the initials of names on the seats in the amphitheatre at Syracuse, it appears that seats could be sold for lengthened periods (Friedl. ap. Marq. 3.473, note 1). Of course occasionally games were given by speculators to make money out of them, though such a course was looked on as sordid (Tac. Ann. 4.62): in that case, nearly, if not all, the places were sold. But at the ordinary games there appears to have been three kinds of seats (Mommsen, ap. Friedl. op. cit. 472): (1) those reserved by the exhibitor to give to his friends or to those who had legal right to reserved seats; (2) the seats which he reserved to sell to such as wished to avoid the long waiting and severe crush (cf. Suet. Cal. 26) attendant upon trying to secure them; (3) the seats or rather places (for the mass of the spectators stood) which were open gratis to the public. The traffic in the second kind of seats was pretty considerable, and box-officers (locarii, Mart. 5.24, 9) doubtless derived a large income from buying up the reserved seats and selling them at a raised price. A noticeable feature about the audience at the games was the way the exhibitor thought it advisable often to give them presents. This he did by throwing them among the spectators to be scrambled for, such being called missilia: see Stat. Silv. 1.6, 10 ff. Fruits (Mart. 11.31, 10), vegetables (Pers. 5.180; Hor. Sat. 2.3, 182), and other eatables (J. AJ 19.1, 3) were often thrown, but generally tesserae, which admitted to the most various kinds of pleasures (see Friedländer on Martial, 8.78, 9). One of these tesserae which we have is marked prandium (Friedl. ap. Marquardt, iii. p. 476, note 3). Occasionally the presents were fastened to a string (linea dives), which was jerked up and down (Mart. 8.78, 7). For the variety of articles scrambled for, see Suet. Nero 11. We may well believe that the crush and violence were very great (Herodian, 5.6), and wise people left before the scrambling began (Suet. Epist. 74, 7; cf. Friedländer, op. cit. ii.3 286-7).

Another point to be noticed was the opportunity the people took of giving free expression to their opinions in the theatre ( “et, ubi plurima vulgi licentia, in circum ac theatra effusi seditiosis vocibus strepere,” as Tacitus says, Hist. 1.72). In republican times much importance was attached to the manner in which public men were greeted in the theatre by the people (Cic. Att. 2.1. 9, 3; Sest. 54, 115). In imperial times we hear of the audience rising up when the emperor or a distinguished man entered, clapping (Suet. Aug. 56) or waving handkerchiefs (oraria, Vopisc. Aurel. 48) and vociferously addressing complimentary titles or good wishes (Suet. Dom. 13), often in a kind of song (Tac. Ann. 16.4; D. C. 73.2). Of course there was the most clamorous outcry for the liberation of slaves or criminals who had made a good exhibition in the contests (Dig. 40, 9, 17, pr.), for the discharge of distinguished gladiators (Mart. Spect. 29, 3); and many a gibe was directed at unpopular people (Juv. 5.3, and Mayor's note; Tac. Ann. 11.13), and even the emperor himself (Capitol. Macrin. 12; Tertull. Spect. 16). The people also made use of these occasions (as it was very difficult to refuse requests made in this way, J. AJ 19.1, 4) to declare against laws (D. C. 56.1; Joseph. l.c.), against detested ministers, e. g. Tigellinus (Plut. Galb. 17), Cleander (Herodian, 1.12, 5), Plautianus (D. C. 76.2), and make many other appeals (cf. Tac. Ann. 6.13; Plin. Nat. 34.62; Suet. Dom. 13) and demonstrations (Cic. Att. 13.4. 4, 1; D. C. 75.4). Indeed, these were pretty much the only occasions on which the feelings of the people could be expressed or gauged under the Empire; and the importance which was attached to this expression of the popular will may be seen from the fact that Titus, in order to carry out certain executions which he considered advisable, put people throughout the theatre to demand them (Suet. Tit. 6). See further in Friedl. Sittengesch. ii.3 266-274. For the frantic excitement of the audience during the actual games, especially the chariot-races, see the passages quoted by Mayor on Juv. 11.197, and Tert. Spect. 16; and for the tumults occasioned by the partisans of rival performers, see Friedländer, S. G. ii.3 457 ff.

The spectators who were Roman citizens had to wear their toga at the games, and the higher ranks and magistrates appeared in official dress (Suet. Aug. 40). Augustus allowed the spectators to come in slippers, without boots, in summer, a permission revoked by Tiberius, but granted again by Caligula (D. C. 59.7). Cloaks (lacernae), which had by order of Domitian to be white (Mart. 14.137), could be worn over [p. 2.89]the toga in bad weather, but they were (at least in the reign of Claudius) laid aside on the entry of the emperor (Suet. Cl. 6). We are told that Caligula also allowed, besides cushions for the senators, the broad-brimmed Thessalian or Macedonian causia [CAUSIA] as a protection against the sun (Dio Cass. l.c.; Mart. 14.39), so that it seems the audience before 37 A.D. used not to wear anything on their heads. Domitian revived the old customs of theatrical etiquette, and compelled the audience to appear in white, forbidding coloured costumes (Mart. 5.8; 23, 1), though we still hear that the favourers of the different factions wore their colours (cf. Mart. 14.131). When owing to wind the awning (velarium) could not be used, the spectators were allowed to hold up umbrellas (Mart. 14.28). The dissignator (Plaut. Poen. prol. 18) was the official who directly saw that these regulations were observed, and he was responsible to the aediles (cf. Suet. Aug. 40).

7. The Performers and the Performances.--See the special articles referred to above, p. 85. b.

For the political and social aspects of the games, how in regard to them idleness took the place of strenuousness till the people were content to give up their rights and assemblies in return for panem et circenses; and the demoralisation spread among the community in various ways by the passion for these shows, as such subjects lie outside the sphere of Antiquities, we must be content to refer to Friedländer, Sittengesch. i.4 468 ff., ii.3 263 ff., 288, 391 ff.; and H. Schiller, Geschichte der Röm. Kaiserzeit, 244, 433 ff.

(Further, on the games generally, see Friedländer in Marquardt, Röm. Staatsverwaltung, 3.462-475; also in his Darstellungen aus der Sittengeschichte Roms, ii.3 263-289 (abbreviated S. G.); Mommsen in Corpus Inscript. Lat. i. pp. 293-412, esp. 375-381.)


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  • Cross-references from this page (134):
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 7.1
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 13.4.1
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    • Polybius, Histories, 30.13
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    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 5, 2
    • Vergil, Aeneid, 3.67
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    • Vergil, Aeneid, 5.78
    • Suetonius, Divus Augustus, 56
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    • Suetonius, Caligula, 26
    • Suetonius, Caligula, 27
    • Suetonius, Caligula, 54
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    • Suetonius, Divus Claudius, 6
    • Suetonius, Domitianus, 4
    • Suetonius, Nero, 11
    • Suetonius, Nero, 12
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    • Tacitus, Annales, 11.22
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    • Tacitus, Annales, 13.5
    • Tacitus, Annales, 14.44
    • Tacitus, Annales, 15.44
    • Tacitus, Annales, 16.12
    • Tacitus, Annales, 16.4
    • Tacitus, Annales, 2.83
    • Tacitus, Annales, 4.62
    • Tacitus, Annales, 6.13
    • Suetonius, Divus Augustus, 32
    • Suetonius, Divus Augustus, 40
    • Suetonius, Domitianus, 13
    • Suetonius, Divus Titus, 6
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 34.62
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 37.45
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 45, 1
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 45, 10
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 45, 32
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 45, 4
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 45, 9
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 39, 22
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 39, 46
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 41, 28
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 5, 17
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 8, 2
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 8, 40
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 34, 3
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 34, 54
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 40, 11
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 40, 44
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 6, 42
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 23, 15
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 25, 12
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 30, 11
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 22, 10
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 22, 7
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 23, 16
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 23, 30
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 25, 10
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 6, 13
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 41, 1
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 41, 11
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 41, 16
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 45, 6
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 31, 9
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 39, 2
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 31, 4
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 31, 50
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 31, 7
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 32, 1
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 32, 9
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 1, 35
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 1, 9
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 2, 31
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 30, 2
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 30, 27
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 30, 8
    • Cicero, De Legibus, 2.1
    • Cicero, De Divinatione, 1.2
    • Quintilian, Institutio Oratoria, Book 3, 4
    • Quintilian, Institutio Oratoria, Book 3, 7
    • Gellius, Noctes Atticae, 18.11
    • Gellius, Noctes Atticae, 18.2
    • Plutarch, Galba, 17
    • Statius, Silvae, 1.6
    • Martial, Epigrammata, 11.10
    • Martial, Epigrammata, 11.31
    • Martial, Epigrammata, 14.131
    • Martial, Epigrammata, 14.137
    • Martial, Epigrammata, 14.28
    • Martial, Epigrammata, 14.39
    • Martial, Epigrammata, 4.1
    • Martial, Epigrammata, 4.6
    • Martial, Epigrammata, 5.1
    • Martial, Epigrammata, 5.10
    • Martial, Epigrammata, 5.23
    • Martial, Epigrammata, 5.24
    • Martial, Epigrammata, 5.25
    • Martial, Epigrammata, 5.49
    • Martial, Epigrammata, 5.8
    • Martial, Epigrammata, 5.9
    • Martial, Epigrammata, 8.7
    • Martial, Epigrammata, 8.78
    • Martial, Epigrammata, 8.9
    • Ovid, Fasti, 5
    • Ovid, Fasti, 6
    • Valerius Maximus, Facta et Dicta Memorabilia, 2.4
    • Valerius Maximus, Facta et Dicta Memorabilia, 2.7
    • Valerius Maximus, Facta et Dicta Memorabilia, 4.4
    • Valerius Maximus, Facta et Dicta Memorabilia, 4.8
    • Valerius Maximus, Facta et Dicta Memorabilia, 6.3
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