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Lecture 12

BIO220H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 12: Ludi, Gladiator, Chariot Racing


Department
Biology
Course Code
BIO220H1
Professor
Michael J.Dewar
Lecture
12

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CLA233 Lecture 12 Notes
The Amphitheatre
- morning – hunt / venatio
- lunch – execution / supplicia
- afternoon – fights / pugnae or pares
- did not tell us about the ideology around the amphitheatre – much can be
pieced together, however
- gladiators – climax
- morning – beats hunts – trained hunters would kill animals
- often the slaughter of many timid animals – demonstrate skill
- more dangerous animals – lions, etc.
- exotic or strange-looking animals were often slaughtered – giraffes
- duty of the Roman aristocracy to keep civilization safe – physical
demonstration of Roman power to keep the people safe
- shows that the emperor can protect the people – also shows the extent of
Roman influence through the dangerous and exotic animals that are
displayed for slaughter
- lunchtime break – executions of criminals – humans who act like animals
- power over nature – controlling, taming – the Roman dominance over the
natural world
- fire – serious risk – arson not unheard of
- arsonists and those who kill their fathers – equally terrible in the eyes of the
Romans
- arsonists were set on fire for their executions – symbolize their heinous act –
were put in a tunic covered in accelerant and set alight
- conquered peoples – those who refused to subject to Roman rule, or those
who rebelled
- idea – animals must be tamed and criminals must be punished
- gladiators – different – admired for their skill and courage
- with gladiators – dignitas, or lack thereof, comes into play – not all gladiators
are the same
- also – gladiators put themselves on for show for the amusement of the people
– slaves – therefore they were not as dignified
- gladiators who won or were not afraid – given their freedom – had achieved
sufficient dignitas to be a freedman
- idea that people at the bottom of society could join the people of Roma and
rises through courage and fame
- celebration of the power of Rome as a civilized state
- very nasty world – Roman ability to dominate nature and criminals – power of
Rome to be a civilized structure and keep its people from harm
- ludi – “games”, also means school
- ludi – chariot races, circus – mandatory like festivals – they had to be given –
often has some sort of religious basis
- gladiatorial games – freely given by the emperor
- munera – means “duties” as well as “gifts” – first to the dead spirit, then to
the people
- at munera – giver of gifts gives a special gift – a treat to the people
- munera are special events – “gifts” to be given at the discretion of the giver
- uncertain how emperors decided when to have munera – always to honour
the dead, as well as for victories
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- for victories – there were chariot races as well
- munera are advertised because they were special and rare
- gladiatorial demonstration was a part of showing Roman power – therefore if
they did it well they were rewarded with their freedom
- there were those who would not stay for the executions – Seneca arrives
early for the gladiatorial games and is horrified by the executions
- people go to the amphitheatre for different reasons – animals, executions,
gladiator
- unseemly to appear to go just for grisly pleasure – there must have many
people who did go just for this reason, but they had to appear not to
- graffiti on a necropolis – gladiatorial combats
- gladiatorial fighting was always accompanied by music – wind pipes of wood –
the three people on the side in the image
- on the left side of the image is the giver of gifts and the relatives
- differences in armour – Romans interested in mismatched fighters each of
whom had different advantages – to see how they used their advantages
- differences in armour and weaponry often had advantages and
disadvantages that cancelled each other out – the Romans enjoyed this
- gladiator Hilarus – gladiator under the emperor Nero
- gladiator was still celebrated despite the Roman hatred for Nero – Hilarus was
such a celebrated, well-trained, skilled professional
- number before the brackets in the graffiti stood for how many battles were
fought in total – after the bracket was the number of battles that were won
- battles not won – either were tied or were lost
- it was considered to be exciting to see a new fighter beat an established
fighter
- the letter “T” stood for tero, “novice”
- missus – “reprieved”, let go
- theta sign, – meant thanatos – died, “dead”θ
- most gladiators in fact lived to retire – most death occurred with animals and
certainly in executions
- considered “lucky” if the Roman people saw even on gladiatorial death in a
game
Beginnings
- great interest in the origin of the games – Romans found it fascinating
- a date is given by Livy
- there had not always been munera – Roman perspective – fairly new
invention
- there had always been ludi – sacred contests in honour of the gods
- munera was a newer innovation and a private gift
Advertising One’s Gift
- munera – which were private gifts and rare – had to be advertised
- twenty pairs of gladiators – more than one afternoon
- father is the priest of Nero – advertises his generosity but is also preparing a
career for his son in sharing the gift with his son – names his son as a gift-
giver as well
- people will remember the generosity of father and son
- generosity of so many gladiators in the games – nearly a week’s worth of
fighting
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