Britty Blog 2 plus Bibliography

This week I read through parts of a book called Spectacle Entertainments of Early Imperial Rome. In this reading, it was both important and difficult to find pieces that are actually helpful/applicable. The first quarter of the book has quite a bit of interesting and helpful information, though it is also important to note that a lot of it deals with "The Roman Republic" more than "The Roman Empire" which is more what we are focusing on. This being the case, it is important to realize that not all of the information will be 100% accurate to the time period we are looking at, but without the Republic, there wouldn't have been an Empire to follow. The most useful of the information can be found below in the bibliography. I wish there were some way that a person could be completely certain of facts from so long ago. I've been thinking about how to narrow our topic, but how to make the topic have more depth. I think we have tried to narrow to "chariot races" but I am not sure how 5 of us can put in a ton of information that could be considered unique.

The research undertaken this week has been helpful in everyday aspects... it doesn't necessarily relate as much to other classes and rehearsal as much- but I'm learning a little more how to specify, and also how to segment my own life. I have a group project in my other class, and with both projects, a senior paper, and working full time... things got to be a bit rough this week. It's more the process of research than the research itself that is lending to everything else. The Research did help me realize that I'd love to have more holidays. And that I'm glad it's a three day week. SPOILER: the idea of games sure translated to the last few episodes of The Walking Dead. :]

Beacham, Richard C. Spectacle Entertainments of Early Imperial Rome. New Haven: Yale UP, 1999. Print.

The Ludi (annual games) were often seen as offerings to the gods and were held by public officials on behalf of the general community; "whereas the munera (events) were provided by citizens acting in a private capacity to honor a recently deceased relative" (13). If a showing were interrupted, it would be restarted at the beginning. Holidays were a big part of Roman life- (eventually formal annual games) (ludi sollemnes)), initially taking place for Gods or Goddesses instead. (ludi Apollinares for Apollo; ludi Megalenses for the Great Mother; ludi Florales for goddess Flora), these took place for fifty days a year. Then came the time when these events were more of a political statement, and increased their chances in the Senate- people were "aediles", the chapter says "one could assume a connection between sponsorship of handsome spectacles as aedile and subsequent attainment of the highest offices" (3). It was "seen as a capital offence in Rome to seek office by openly offering gifts, but shows given by prospective candidates, regardless of the potential for abuse, were not usually seen as bribery" (15). These events were seen as good investments, or as opportunities to show their family prestige, achievement, and wealth. There is a particularly good quote from Cicero: "A gladiatorial show is likely to seem cruel and brutal to some eyes, and I tend to believe that it is as currently practiced. But in the time when it was criminals who fought with swords in a struggle to the death... there could be no better instruction against pain and death" (16).

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The most important aspect of your post deals with the necessary cohesion of your group. You are absolutely right that you'll have to figure out a.) what specific spectacles you'll be talking about and b.) how to utilize all of your research. Keep in mind that you may not be able to use everyone's ideas in the final presentation. That research will be helpful for your classmates who decide, at some point, to pursue an investigation into Ancient Rome, so it isn't useless by any means. Keep that in mind.

It would be good for you to take your fellow group members' individual blog entries into consideration so that you can see what they're talking about. More importantly, I think you can continue to focus your attention on the nuances of the sources you're encountering. Say more, for example, about why the distinction between the Republic and the Empire is important for one's consideration of spectacle performance.

Grade: 88%

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