Death and Renewal: Sociological Studies in Roman History, by Keith Hopkins

By Keith Hopkins

It is a quantity of experiences interested by demise and its impression at the social order. the 1st subject thought of is gladiatorial strive against; now not purely renowned leisure, it was once additionally an immense aspect in Roman politics. The ebook then investigates the composition of the political elite within the past due Republic and Principate (249 BC - advert 235), exhibiting that beliefs of hereditary succession disguised excessive charges of social mobility. the ultimate bankruptcy levels over aristocratic loss of life rituals and tombs, funerals and ghost tales, to the quest for immortality and the facility of the Roman lifeless in dispensing estate by means of written wills.

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And self-liquidating. At least, all 14 E. Goffman, Encounters (Indianapolis, 1961) 78. On Symmachus, see J. A. MacGeachy, Quintus Aurelius Symmachus and the Senatorial Aristocracy of the West 15 (Chicago, 1942) 87fF. Roman emperors and aristocrats were, so it seems, much concerned with giving precise figures recording their achievements. For example, the formal lists of imperial acts surviving from Ostia state for AD 109: 'November 1 emperor Trajan finished his gladiatorial show which had lasted 117 days with 4,441\ pairs of gladiators.

C. Frend, Martyrdom and Persecution in the Early Church (Oxford, 1965) 1-30. 27 Murderous games Rome was a cruel society. Brutality was built into its culture, in private life as well as in public shows. The tone was set by military discipline and by slavery, to say nothing of wide-ranging paternal powers (on fathers' traditional 'power of life and death', see below, p. 243). 53). 153, cf. 13). At their master's whim, as we have seen^ slaves could be sold to gladiatorial schools or sentenced without trial and thrown to wild beasts.

For example, at the dedication of the Colosseum in AD 80, the emperor Titus gave games which lasted 100 days and included the slaughter of 5,000 or 9,000 animals in a single day (some killed by women), plus individual and mass gladiatorial fights and pitched battles, including a naval battle on an artifically flooded site. One day's fighting alone involved 3,000 men. 25). 15 By their very nature, these were exceptional shows, enormously costly to prepare and to present. And self-liquidating. At least, all 14 E.

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