Jane Heer-Blog 2

This week I decided to focus solely on the blood shows, "muneras", of Ancient Rome and try to answer the question "Why?". I found quite a few reasons why the people and political leaders of Rome enjoyed/supported gladiator games and other spectacles of death. I found a paper that argued that the games were about more than just "sheer brutality". The article argued that the games were for sport, entertainment, food, punishment, political power, and increased interactions with leaders. The games served as a place where people of all classes could come and enjoy food, learn from example how NOT to act in society, and interact with their leaders. Leaders used the games as a place to manipulate the emotions of the masses and show the continuity of the Roman State. My biggest question was "why death?", why couldn't the leaders of Rome choose games that didn't involve public executions? In one source I found that Romans were simply known to enjoy violence, but Futrell's book gave an explanation that leaders believed that blood spilt in the arena "guaranteed the community's continuity despite the passage of its leaders". The games were used to keep the community of Rome together even as leaders come and go. With this idea comes the idea that the games weren't about the death of an individual as much as they were about celebrating the continuance of Rome, which is admirable. I feel confident in the narrowing of my research to answering and looking at spectacles of death and WHY death, spectacle? however I'm worried as a group we're too broad still. I know that we're still looking at Chariot racing and so I think it's important that if we want to cover chariot racing in our 20 minutes that we find a connection between the death spectacles, political influence, AND chariot racing. We've decided to no longer focus on Circus Maximus and I was under the impression they were connected. I'm happy that we were able to decide to do an interactive presentation as a group and hope we can successfully explain "spectacle".
Sources for the week:
Futrell, Alison. Blood in the Arena: The Spectacle of Roman Power. Austin: University of Texas, 1997. Print.

Cowles, Lauren E. (2011) "The Spectacle of Bloodshed in Roman Society," Constructing the Past: Vol. 12: Iss. 1, Article 10.

also briefly:

Hope, Valerie M. Death in Ancient Rome: A Sourcebook. London: Routledge,
2007. Print.

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Good work on this entry! The source material you're looking at is very interesting and compelling. Did you get a sense of how the blood of an enemy helps to cement the lineage of the Romans?

And you're right to urge more cohesion among your group. If you want to focus on the munera, then that will probably take 20 minutes to explain. If you want to focus on other large-scale spectacles that don't involve death, then your presentation might lead in too many directions.

Grade: 100%

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