Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 18 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The spectacles of the arena and the circus, although beneath mention in sophisticated discourse, were a pervasive cultural force in Roman society. More pervasive in the towns and cities of the Roman Empire, although still perhaps seasonally determined, were the informal entertainers (acrobats, tightrope walkers, jugglers, conjurors, fire eaters, strongmen, puppeteers, fortune-tellers, street-musicians, and other itinerant showmen of antiquity). The spectacle par excellence and, requiring the subjugation of a foreign enemy as its raison d'eâtre, the least predictable, was the triumphal procession. Under the Republic, gladiatorial combat remained firmly tied to funerary celebration, an occasion associated also with other types of display. If we are relatively well informed about the careers of charioteers and gladiators, we know almost nothing of the origins, status, and training of the men who fought beasts. This article looks at the participants, sponsors, and spectators of Roman spectacles in ancient times.

Keywords: Roman Empire, spectacles, arena, circus, triumphal procession, gladiatorial combat, charioteers, gladiators, sponsors, spectators

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.