The Arena and Entertainment

Ancient Romans were never short of entertainment as the government wanted to keep the idle masses happy because a huge group of poor people can be a significant danger to the empire.

The Roman Arena which often showcased games that were harsh and cruel were initially utilized for funerals and memorials but later catered to so many occasions including war victories and birthdays.

Among the most common games and events that took place in the arena included gladiator battles, public executions, animal displays, chariot races, and mock battles.

According to several historians, the games and events were mostly paid by rich individuals in the benefit of gaining popularity with the masses.

Popular individuals that were known to put up large public games and theatrical plays included former Roman dictator Julius Caesar.

Theaters in Ancient Rome were most often open-air theaters that are scattered throughout the city and empire. It is believed that these theaters could cater to at least 7,000 individuals.

Among the most popular attractions in the Roman arena were gladiators who would fight against each other inside a circled ring.

Typically, gladiators were prisoners and slaves that were trained to fight but there have been instances wherein a volunteer would become a gladiator. Few gladiators who survived bloody battles went on become rich and famous.

Roman scholars said that every gladiator had multiple areas of specialties in terms of fighting styles and weaponry, thus, making every single fight more interesting to watch.

While some gladiators’ utilized heavy armor and swords as their primary weapons, others made use of little armor to be more agile and quicker.

As a matter of fact, one type of fighter known as the retiarius would utilize a trident and a net to fight other gladiators. Interestingly enough, not all gladiator fights resulted in death.

When a gladiator is about to lose the battle, he could ask for compassion from his opponent and the crowd or leaders would eventually decide if the loser should live or die.

Facts about the Arena and Entertainment of Ancient Rome

  • Apart from theatre and gladiator battles, the Roman arena also hosted chariot races. Ordinarily, chariot races were divided into four teams specifically the Whites, Blues, Greens, and the Reds.
  • The Circus Maximus is considered as the oldest and largest venue of circus and horse racing events. It is believed that the Circus Maximus was capable of seating at least 250,000 people.
  • One of the most famous horse racers in Ancient Rome was Gaius Appuleius Diocles. He won a total of 1,463 races during the 2ndcentury C.E.
  • Another popular venue of Roman entertainment was the Colosseum. It hosted a wide range of gladiatorial battles and fights between and wild animals as well as the public executions of Christians.
  • The Colosseum was also regarded as the largest amphitheater in Ancient Rome with its ability to seat to at least 50,000 people.
  • Emperor Augustus divided the seats in The Colosseum at the end of the Roman Republic. He established rules to make sure that children, free persons, slaves, rich individuals, soldiers, adults, civilians, women, single men, and married men can be seated separately.
  • Roman Emperor Commodus also fought gladiators and wild animals in Roman arenas.
  • Ancient Romans also developed the mime. The mime is a type of acting that is normally performed with only body movements instead of speaking.
  • What is The Campus for?
    The Campus was an old soldier drill ground that was transformed into a track and field playground. It normally hosts events such as wrestling, archery, boxing, jumping, and foot racing.
  • Where is The Campus located?
    The Campus was a huge section of plain that is situated near the Tiber River.
  • How many animals and gladiators were killed in the Colosseum?
    More than a million animals and gladiators died in the Colosseum. Legend has it that the Colosseum killed 5,000 animals during its opening ceremonies.
  • What is held in Roman Theaters?
    Roman theaters hosted a wide range of events which included recitals, dramas, pantomime, comedies, and tragedies.