Why did the Romans turn out in their tens of thousands to watch brutal gladiatorial games? Previous studies have tried to explain the attraction of the arena by theorizing about its cultural function in Roman society. The games have been seen as celebrations of the violence of empire or of Rome's martial heritage, or as manifestations of the emperor's power. The desire to watch has therefore been limited to the Roman context and rendered alien to modern sensibilities. Yet the historical record reveals that people living in quite different times and circumstances (including our own) have regularly come out in large numbers to watch public rituals of violence such as executions, floggings, animal-baiting, cudgeling, pugilism and so on. Appreciating the social-psychological dynamics at work in attracting people to watch such events not only deepens our understanding of the spectator at the Roman games but also suggests something important about ourselves.Read more
- Offers a new approach to the Roman arena games using insights drawn from social psychology
- Confronts readers with the possibility that we too could sit in the audience at the Roman arena baying for the blood of outcasts
- Written in a lively, readable style designed to appeal to a wide range of readers with no prior specialised knowledge
Reviews & endorsements
'A vivid phenomenological account of the games … [a] well-informed book.' The Times Literary SupplementSee more reviews
'For industry, meticulous documentation of primary and secondary sources, cosmic view, and a good dose of common sense throughout, this is now unquestionably the best book on this repulsive but unavoidable subject. To adapt a famous though possibly apocryphal gladiatorial chant, Ave, Fagan, Imperator! Lecturi Te Salutant!' The Spokesman
Not yet reviewed
Be the first to review
Review was not posted due to profanity×
- Date Published: February 2011
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9780521185967
- length: 376 pages
- dimensions: 226 x 152 x 20 mm
- weight: 0.52kg
- contains: 10 b/w illus.
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
1. Seeking explanations
2. A catalogue of cruelty
3. Groups, crowds, and seats
4. Crowd dynamics at arena spectacles
5. Arenas of prejudice
6. Gladiators and sports spectatorship
7. The attractions of violent spectacle
Sorry, this resource is locked
Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email firstname.lastname@example.orgRegister Sign in
You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner www.ebooks.com. Please see the permission section of the www.ebooks.com catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.Continue ×
Are you sure you want to delete your account?
This cannot be undone.
Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.
If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.×