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Gladiatorial combat, animal displays, naumachiae (staged naval battles) and spectacular executions were all an important part of Roman culture. The provision of a wide range of purpose-built buildings (from theatres to amphitheatres to circuses) as venues across the empire is testimony to the popularity and significance of these displays. This book offers an introduction to the main forms of spectacle in the Roman world (human and animal combat, chariot racing, aquatic displays), their nature, context and social importance. It will explore the vast array of sources, from literary to archaeological material, that informs the subject. It will examine the spectacles with special emphasis on their physical setting, and will also consider the variation in the provision of venues and their context across the Empire. A final section will review the modern reception of Roman spectacles, especially those involving gladiators.
About the Author
Hazel Dodge is senior Lecturer of Roman Archaeology at Trinity College, Dublin.