Blood and Power: Arena Spectacle and the Roman Empire
This lecture will explore the arenas of ancient Rome which, represented the essence of Roman culture: power relations, ritualized combat and blood-drenched demonstrations of Roman moral strength.
04-08-10 - Events
AZ, United States, North America
The popular image of ancient Rome puts the arena at center stage. From “Ben-Hur” to “Gladiator,” our mental images of Rome center on the arena and the violent spectacles it housed. Along with its luxurious bathhouses, banquets and orgies, blood games are fundamental to the popular perception of the ancient empire as devoted to sophisticated luxury and personal pleasures yet doomed by its decadence.
The Roman world devoted an overwhelming amount of time, energy, money and attention to the arena; politicians bankrupted themselves to provide games, and towns gave over huge amounts of public space and public funds for the construction of amphitheaters. The legions of Rome built arenas alongside their basic barracks, while Romano-Celtic villagers constructed lavish arena complexes out in the middle of rural Gaul. This talk will explore how, with its monumental status, the arena was indeed central to ancient Rome.
The speaker will focus on the amphitheaters of the western provinces of the ancient Roman Empire. Alison Futrell is an associate professor of Roman history at the University of Arizona. This event is part of the spring lecture series of the Central Arizona Society, Archaeological Institute of America.