Leisure • Romans worked hard, but they loved to enjoy themselves. • Romans loved: gambling, concerts, sporting events, exercising, spas/baths, parties, etc.
Board/Dice Games • Average Romans loved board games and dice. • They played a popular game similar to checkers. • They played with dice and small wooden plates similar to cards.
Chariot Races • The Romans loved chariot racing arguably more than gladiator fights. • Similar to modern cycling or auto racing, Romans had chariot teams who were usually identified by colors. • There were many types of races, varying in distance, terrain, and number of horses.
Chariot racing was notoriously dangerous—with frequent fights and not stopping for injuries. • Betting on races was also very common.
The Circus Maximus • Capacity: around 140,000 • Length: about 2,050 feet (40% of a mile)
Pliny’s Letter on the Races • Read the letter and answer the following questions with quotes from the text: • How does Pliny feel about chariot races? • How does Pliny depict racing fans? • What does he say about their allegiance to teams or individual racers? • What would Pliny rather do than watch races? • If you finish early, write some thoughts about how Pliny wants to portray himself in this letter. What type of person does he want to be seen as by his friend?
The Theater • Roman theatric performances were very popular. • Comedies were by far the most popular genre.
Comedies • Roman comedies were comparable to our modern sitcoms. • They focused on everyday life and funny situations. • Romans didn’t care for satire or anything that threatened the social order.
Origins of Gladiators • Gladiator combat either came from the Etruscans or the region of Campania—sources vary. • Contests began as celebrations of major victories or to honor the lives of famous warriors. • The first Roman gladiator show took place between 310-260 BCE.
Evolution of Combat • By the time of the late republic, gladiatorial combat had become a highly organized form of entertainment. • Shows were paid for by private citizens, and less frequently by the government. • As Rome expanded and fought new enemies, they incorporated the weaponry into gladiator styles.
Common Misconceptions • ALL FIGHTS WERE TO THE DEATH. • Incorrect. Gladiators were very expensive to train, arm, and keep healthy. It is extremely impractical, and financially stupid, to kill them all off. • Also, over time certain gladiators developed large fan followings. It would make fans angry and less likely to attend the shows if their favorite fighter was killed off for no good reason.
Common Misconceptions • ALL GLADIATORS WERE SLAVES. • Incorrect. Many gladiators were at slave status during the height of combat, but criminals and deserters were often forced into combat. • Also, by the late empire, fighting in the games had become quite profitable, and private citizens would become gladiators.
Types of Fighters • Bestiarius—meaning “beast man,” this warrior was assigned to fight wild, angry animals. • Bestiarii commonly fought lions, leopards and wild boars. • Sometimes they fought tigers, bears, and wolves.
Samnite • Massive crested helmet covering the entire head • Full armor sleeve on one or both arms • Mostly a small shield, but sometimes large • Short, curved sword
R(h)etiarius • Based on a fisherman • Quick and agile • Armor plate on dominant shoulder • No helmet • Trident and net
Murmillo • Similar to Samnite • Large military shield • Heavy equipment • Large military sword • Usually the slowest of the types
Hoplomachus • Modeled after the Greek hoplite • Small or medium round shield • Spear and/or short Greek sword
Velites • Modeled after Roman light troops • Little armor • Throwing spears • Lightweight wicker or wooden shield
Create a Stats Page • For each type of gladiator, write a short (1-2 sentence description) • Give them a 1-5 rating for each of the following categories: • Power • Speed • Defense • Close-range attack • Long-range attack
The Baths(Balneae) • Bath houses were one of the central features of Roman civilization. • By the time of the early emperors, there was at least one bath house in every major city.
Bath Houses • Bath houses were not only places to clean. • They were places to dine, shop, hang out with friends, exercise, get massages, and even receive medical care. • Bath areas were separated for men and women.
Types of Baths Each bath house had a variety of baths with different temperatures. • The caldarium was the hot bath—think of a hot tub. • The tepidarium was a slightly warm bath. • The frigidarium was a cold bath.
Writing Prompt • Write two paragraphs on Roman baths. • In #1, you are an ancient Roman writing to a friend outside of the empire. Tell him or her why the baths are so important to your culture. What benefits do they bring? • In #2, you are writing as the friend. Tell the Roman what types of negative effects the baths might have, and why they aren’t as great as the Romans believe.