Jane Heer-Blog 1
This week our group started our research on the topic of "Ancient Roman Spectacle". A quick Google search to help us understand our topic revealed that in Rome, "spectacles" usually meant blood baths performed for large audiences. The three main playwrights at the time were Plautus, Terence, and Seneca. We will most likely focus on Seneca because he wrote tragedies at a time when death was used for power/enjoyment. It would seem that at the time that spectacles were popular in Ancient Rome, not a lot of what we today would consider "theatre" was happening, often playwrights were just rewriting things that the Grees had already written (Seneca's versions of Oedipus/Hercules). What then is theatre in this time? gladiators/circuses/etc.? We hope to discover more about what theatre means at this time in history, who was writing theatre, and how these spectacles affected the public, and who they benefitted. The research we've done so far will help me in other classes because it's refreshing my knowledge on how to actually do scholarly research, especially the use of the library system.
"the theatre or circus continued to furnish almost the only means which the great mass of the people had for expressing their opinion on public men or public questions"
-Society and Politics in Ancient Rome (Abbott)