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Leisure and Ancient Rome 1st Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
"The cruelty and the strangeness of the Roman spectacle are plentiful...animals...hunted...set loose on men... bulls...gilded with gold...Criminals tied to a stake and left to be mauled...Scenes from history, mythology, and literature...the castration of Atys was reproduced,..and the union ...between Pasiphae and the bull became a reality" (p 37),
As more and more countries were occupied, gold and slaves flowed into Rome. Rome had originally been a poor and mostly agricultural village, with stern men and the virtuous wives that obeyed them. Whatever the exact truth of this founding myth, by the time Rome had become the greatest city in the world it was filled more with lurid pleasures than stern and virtuous people. Augustus famously tried to reform the wealthy upper class by laws which urged them to marry and have children. The laws had no effect.
Romans had slaughtered their way to empire, and the people enjoyed the slaughter in the Coliseum. The games represented Roman masculinity, eager to fight, to do so courageously, and, if forced to die, to do it with calm Stoicism. Gladiators were trained to turn their necks upwards for the fatal cut, and to do so with no fear, or any emotion. .
Rome had created an entirely new class eager for pleasurably spent leisure, the unemployed citizen. Taverns sold wine and food, prostitutes and gambling. Roman moralists were untiring in their lamentations about taverns, to no effect.
The old, moral, rigorous world of a rural Rome had died, and in its place "personal freedom was emerging from its ruins...people influenced by popular culture placed their own pleasures...above ...obligations...Read more ›