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Classical Studies
Classical Studies 1000
Kelly Olson

H OLIDAYS & L EISURE A CTIVITIES Reading: Angela pp. 119-128, 132-136, 195-199. Leisure in Roman Antiquity • Not a neutral area • Leisure differs according to class • What leisure activities were appropriate for upper vs lower classes? • How much time should be given to leisure? • Too much leisure time could be corrupting if you spent it doing the wrong sorts of activities OR had a low character • Free time could be misused Lower-class Leisure • Licentia (means freedom in latin) • ‘Freedom’pursuing desires (esp. sexual) unchecked by morality • Condemned by the elite • Thought to be morally corrupting • Gambling, gladiators, taverns • Watching executions which happened at noon at the amphitheatre Upper Class Leisure • Otium • Leisure was a reward for mentally or intellectually challenging work • leisure ideally intellectually stimulating • Reading, writing, listening to music or poetry Dice • Tesserae • 6 sided cubes of ivory, wood, or bone • Bronze dice boxes used • 3 dice used to make the highest throw possible • Invoke the name of a lover or deity • frenzy during the Roman empire Gambling • Cut across social boundaries • Also cut across boundaries of age, children gambled as well • Privately; in taverns; some taverns had separate dicing rooms • Yhe elite also diced • Ex. emperor Claudius, Augustus played dice, Nero • People also gambled on gladiatorial matches (presumably) and on chariot-racing The Roman Legal System • Gave continuous attention to gambling at dice • Betting on dice was officially illegal except during the Saturnalia • Acivil offense, if caught only fined • 204 BCE: Lex Alearia • 1st C BCE: Lex Talaria • Laws never seriously enforced • Other betting seems to have been legal • Proprietors of gaming establishments could not bring charges for assault, damage, or theft • Gambling losses irrecoverable • Loaded dice have been found Gambling & Roman Moralists • Was it a threat? • Noblemen need to show temperantia (self control) • Greed and an unnatural desire for profit • Agambler had no self-control; madness? • Ideally a man gambled intelligently and morally • Otherwise, social ridicule and ce
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