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Stoic under pressure march 26.docx
Stoic under pressure march 26.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Victoria Wohl

CLA 160 March 26, 2014 Stoic Under Pressure Rome • Under Nero spectacles become a form of politics • Artist emperor, politics and theatre become merged • Romans responded to this new world • Display your power to the world, you had to show it • One vehicle to show this is the triumph o Aprocession for a victorious general o General would march through Rome surrounded by senators and magistrates to display his prisoner’s of war as well as spoils from the battles o Painted posters with scenes of important battles or places that have been conquered o General wore a special purple toga with gold stars o Because clothing was one way of Romans showing their status o Carried a scepter of ivory and laurel branch (symbolizing triumph) o Commemorated in images because it was the most important moment in a general’s life • Triumphs had to be voted by the senate, augustus thought that this gave another person so much power and prestige that he didn’t want to allow any one to have it o Only emperors will be granted a triumph • Nero picked up this ancient tradition • He was in Greece because he wanted to participate in the Olympian games, and he wanted to show off his artistic prowess • Return he staged a triumph to mark this great victory • Nero takes his elaborate ceremony and turns it up an extra notch • Displays a military victory without a victory, it’s all about the show for him • The senate continued to meet under Nero, but its decisions no longer mattered • Asenate that doesn’t reach any decision, a triumph that doesn’t celebrate a real victory • Bread and circuses o Roman leaders led the plebs with the distribution of grain o They also hand out circuses and spectacles o Games were an important part of keeping the people happy and supportive of the leader o Ludi were sponsored by the roman state, state run but produced by a wealthy individual –chance to display power and prestige o Way of proving political competence o The only way of rising in political ranks was through the support of the emperors o Emperors begin producing all the games themselves because they don’t want other people to have prestige o Emperor liked them because they could communicate with the plebs o Riots during the games, people would start demanding more bread and jobs –chance for emperor to hear them and respond to them o Circus was a place where politics went on o Games were immensely popular with the plebians and the chariot races were hugely popular o Circences –chariot races and they raced in Circus Maxiumus • Curse tablet where you write down a curse against an enemy and bury it • Colosseum (80CE) o Gladiators like the jockeys of the chariot racers were mostly slaves o Socially degraded o Different kinds of gladiators, some were on horseback, many were parodies of rome’s enemies o Retiarius vs. secutor  Retiarius would be lightly armed with a trident and a dagger  Secutor means follower who heavily armed and sword and shield  It was exciting because it pitted armor against speed and mobility o When a gladiator was wounded he would hold up one index finger and the crowd would indicate whether he should be killed or spared o The emperor would decide o Beasts were used in gladiatorial contests –they were pitted against eachother o Mock hunting scenes were also used o Venatio where animals would be let loose and hunt down by gladiators o Damnatio ad bestias: during lunch break during the contests by executing criminals and one of the ways was to feed them to the wild beasts o The spectacle of brutality makes the viewer more inhumane o Watching gladiators die in the arena helped you to understand death yourself o Visible display of power in rome, not only for the guy who produces them but also for everyone who wins a match—man over beast and state over the criminals o Extreme form of the power that every power that the father had over his son o Every master had absolute power over his slave, vivid display of the superiority of the citizen class over non citizen class o Many gladiators were foreign and prisoner of war –imperial ideology o Exotic beasts represent the various countries from around the world to show their superiority o Gladiators are fighting herotic versions of Rome’s great battles – imperial display o Psychological effect of watching the game, shared experience of taking part in this o Hierarchical nature of roman culture, what would it be like to live in this culture o Nero takes this tradition and puts his mark upon it, they were very over the top o Forces them to perform their own degredation (senators) acting out publicly the position under the emperor o Senators had no real power, they were just acting the part of politicians o Nero takes that political theatre and turns it into a display –f
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