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Blood in the Arena: The Spectacle of Roman Power Hardcover – 1997


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press; 1st edition (1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0292725043
  • ISBN-13: 978-0292725041
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,359,987 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"... bring[s] fresh perspectives to the study of the Roman amphitheatre, situating the Roman arena within a larger cross-cultural framework of human sacrifice and providing important insights into the psychological dimensions of these public spectacles for the Roman viewer." -Classical World --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Alison Futrell is Assistant Professor of Roman History at the University of Arizona. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Leach HALL OF FAME on March 25, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book, by Professor Alison Futrell of the University of Arizona, is a reworking of her doctoral dissertation. The title is somewhat misleading; there is little blood in any of the arenas discussed in this book. What we do get is a very intelligent, comprehensive examination of Roman spectacle and the role that it played in shaping (I should say reflecting) Roman society. Although I don't always agree with Futrell's analyses on the role of spectacles, I'll be lucky to pull off a dissertation as good as this one. Fortunately I won't be doing any dissertation work in ancient history.
Futrell starts her analysis with a short history of the two types of games that predominated amphitheater productions: the munera and the venatio. The munera are gladiatorial contests that actually started out as funeral rituals. Futrell provides evidence that gives support to Etruscan origins for the munera. The venatio are the animal exhibits; both peaceful-gee-watch-the-neat-animals-do-tricks kinds and the ones where the animals were slaughtered. Unfortunately, Futrell doesn't provide much more information on venatio. Most of the book deals with munera, although there is also information on arena types and constructions.
Arenas took several forms. Everyone is familiar with the Colosseum, built by the Flavians around 80 A.D. The first theaters were much less impressive. At first, most games were held in the Forums. Eventually, small wooden amphitheaters were built, both during the Late Republic and Early Empire. Augustus was the first to really devote sufficient energy to the amphitheaters. He used them to consolidate his rule by connecting games with an Imperial cult dedicated to himself and Roma.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Scholarly approach that both clarifies details about the Roman enjoyment of the bloody spectacles and suggests deeper reasons for the national support for it.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Miranda Williams on November 9, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As an old student of Alison Futrell I am 100% bias. I always read my favorite professors books, but 'Blood in the Arena' is the only book that has enslaved me. With every reading this book takes on deeper meaning-- maybe I have "out of college nostalgia" or I'm obsessed with blood sports. Her sources are cited clearly and her arguments are so solid that it is able to simultaneously fill the fetish for philosophy while providing the satisfactory sources (not found in a popular HX book). Futrell's well rounded take on Roman HX uses interdisciplinary studies and includes the exploration of human sacrifice in other cultures(including Aztec and Inca). Futrell will satisfy the hardcore history junkie and provide the average person a sense of deeper self-understanding.
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