Cruelty and Civilization: Roman Games (Hardback)
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Short Description for Cruelty and Civilization Argues that the great spectacles of Ancient Rome were not merely casual entertainment, but a public opiate. This study analyzes the emotions of the crowd and the motives of the rulers to explain why the games were so important in the life of the city.
- Published: 03 June 1994
- Format: Hardback 224 pages
- ISBN 13: 9780415104524 ISBN 10: 0415104521
Full description for Cruelty and Civilization
The great spectacles of Ancient Rome were not merely casual entertainment, a matter of choice for the audience, like the modern theatre. Under the Empire the games had become a public opiate and they ended by giving the daily life of Rome its rhythm and lustre. From one year to the next, the Roman citizens lived in anticipation of the games; they provided excitement and helped the citizens forget the mediocrity of their own condition and their lack of political power. In the course of endless festivals, the most minutely organised productions were staged at vast expense, and Rome developed its own cult of the 'star'. This cult was not the product of naive popular imagery: idols and outcasts at the same time, yet doomed to a bloody death, the champions of the arena were the instruments of collective pleasure. Roland Auguet has not restricted himself to the detailed reconstruction of these spectacles; he has also analyzed the emotions of the crowd and the motives of the rulers. He explains why the games were so important in the life of the city and what the popularity of these spectacles, this strange combination of Cruelty and Civilization, reveals about the mentality of the citizens of Rome.