Ou A103 Tma 03 Essay

1256 words - 6 pages

PART 1.How did the design of the Colosseum relate to its public function and to its symbolic meaning? Answer in no more than 300 words.The Amphitheatrum Flavium was a 'gift' to unite the citizens of Rome by the Emperor Vespasian, successor to Nero. Disliked by the citizens, Nero had taken vast amounts of land after the great fire; indeed the Colosseum was built on the site of Nero's 'resented palace' (Block 2, p.39). We can therefore assume that the Colosseum was not only a political gesture but a symbol of Imperial Rome and an arena for public events namely 'The Games'.According to Vitruvius (Block 2, p.54) Roman architecture required 'commodity', 'firmness' and 'delight'; the Colosseum ...view middle of the document...

(298 words)PART 2.What attitudes towards the Roman games did the ancient writers express? How would you account for the differences and similarities between these attitudes? Answer in no more than 900 words.The attitudes expressed to the Roman games by the ancient writers varied enormously. It is my intention to indentify these attitudes and why they differ. Initially seen as a funerary tribute, the first recorded gladiatorial combat took place in 264 BCE. The subsequent institution of the games not only epitomised but became an integral part of Roman life until there demise around 450 CE. These games did not only involve gladiatorial combat, but executions and even hunts. We know that the extremely lavish inaugural games at the Colosseum lasted over one hundred days and resulted in the slaying of over nine thousand animals.The games themselves provided a platform for the wealthy; indeed by supporting or sponsoring the games you could be easily elevated within the social rank structure, with many choosing to use it politically to sway public opinion. In actual fact entry to the games was free and the right of every citizen; so to the populace the provision of these spectacles was seen as a passing on of gratitude and wealth for their enjoyment.Writers contemporary to games either condemned the validity of ordained bloodshed or lauded them. As advocates the likes of Pliny the Younger, Cicero and Suetonius wrote of their veneration of the games after all gladiatorial combat was primarily a display of military skill and prowess, which was well suited to an empire that spread over most of Europe. Pliny, Cicero and Suetonius described the games as lavish affairs provided for the enjoyment of the people; from this enjoyment the skill and bravery of the combatants was indentified. This recognition of skill and bravery was appreciated by the 'mob'; with many of the gladiators becoming iconic figures in the belief that they instilled 'good old Roman virtues', (Block 3, p.33) such as courage, strength and stamina. Although those that supported the games may have also disagreed with the certain aspects of the violence. The politician Cicero for example cites two such disagreements, firstly he suggest contrary opinions about the games, then he goes on to question the change in trend stating that lessons are not learnt because criminals no longer kill one another (Resource Book 1, C8, p.98).Taking an antonymic view we have Seneca and St Augustine both these men talk of butchery and how the spectators are seduced by the violence. It is this lust for blood they believe that...

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