F O N T E S


SOURCES

PAPERS, studies and essays available in this website

Basic bibliography

Advanced bibliography

Classic sources

On games


Most of the pictures are mine. For the info I have largely used the following
BASIC BIBLIOGRAPHY

AA. VV. - Anfiteatro Flavio - Immagine Testimonianze Spettacoli - Quasar, 1988
AA. VV. - Sangue e Arena (catalogo della mostra) - Ministero Beni Culturali - Soprintendenza Archeologica di Roma - Electa, 2001.
AA. VV. - Il Colosseo - a cura di Ada Gabucci - Electa, 1999
AA. VV. - Rota Colisei - La valle del Colosseo attraverso i secoli - A cura di Rossella Rea - © Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali, Soprintendenza Archeologica di Roma - Realizzazione editoriale Electa, 2002
Abbondanza,  L., The Valley of the Colosseum; Soprintendenza Archeologica di Roma, 1997.
Bosi, R., Il Grande Libro di Roma, Arnoldo Mondadori, 1988
Cozzo, G., Il Colosseo. L'anfiteatro Flavio nella tecnica edilizia, nella storia delle strutture, nel concetto esecutivo dei lavori, Rome, Palombi, 1971;
Lanciani, R., Rovine e scavi di Roma antica; Quasar, 1985
Lugli, G., The Flavian Amphitheatre; Giovanni Bardi, Italy, 1971.
Luciani, R., Il Colosseo, Istituto Geografico De Agostini, 1993;
Cornell, T. – Matthews, J.: Atlante del Mondo Romano, Istituto Geografico De Agostini, 1982;
AA.VV.: Frondose Arcate – Il colosseo prima dell’archeologia (catalogo della mostra) - Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali - Soprintendenza Archeologica di Roma, Electa, 2000;
AA. VV.: Amphitheatrum Naturae - care of Giulia Caneva, Electa 2004
Giuliani, C. F., L’edilizia nell’antichità, La Nuova Italia Scientifica, 1990;
Auguet, R., Cruelty and Civilization -The Roman Games, Routledge, 1994.
Touring Club Italiano, Roma e Dintorni, TCI 1977
SPQR - Comune di Roma; Roma Sotterranea; a cura di Roberto Luciani; Fratelli Palombi Editori – Roma Cataloghi, 1985
Sabbatini Tumolesi, P., Epigrafia Anfiteatrale dell'Occidente Romano (Vol. I - Roma) - Quasar, 1988.

ONLINE:

- An interesting essay by CJ Lyes on the Political and Architectural Significance of the Colosseum
- An essay on  "Public Spectacles And Roman Social Relations, by Jonathan Edmondson (York University, Toronto, Canada)
- A  paper by Monika Mickutë on architectural aspects
- The Colosseum: Quality and efficiency of construction, by Giovanni Manieri Elia (with an English translation)

ADVANCED BIBLIOGRAPHY

If you want to keep on studying, I recommend these sources:
ALFÖLDY (Géza), " Eine Bauinschrift aus dem Colosseum ", ZPE, 109, 1995, pp. 195-226.
BULIAN (G.), " Resine epossidiche per il consolidamento di sei pilastri dell'anfiteatro flavio " , L'industria tecnica delle costruzioni, A. N. C. E, 1980, n° 99, pp. 13-24.
COARELLI (Filippo), Guide archéologique de Rome, Paris, Hachette, 1998 (1980), pp. 131-135.
COLAGROSSI (P.), L'Anfiteatro Flavio nei suo venti secoli di storia, Florence, Libreria editrice fiorentina, 1913.
CONFORTO (Maria Letizia), DIEBNER (S.), GHINI (Guiseppina), NISTA (L.), PAPARATTI (E.), PARIS (R.), PENSABENE (Patrizio), REA (R.), REGGIANI (Anna Maria), SABBATINI TUMOLESI (P.), Anfiteatro Flavio : imagine, testimonianze, spettacoli, Rome, Quasar, 1988.
COZZO (Giuseppe), Ingegneria romana : maestranze romane, strutture preromane, , strutture romane, le costruzioni dell'anfiteatro Flavio, del Pantheon, dell'emissario del Fucino, Rome, Multigrafica, 1970 (Reprod. en fac-sim. de l'éd. de Rome, 1928), pp. 203-253.
GIOVANNONI (G.), " La zona del Colosseo ed il suo aspetto definitivo ", Capitolium, 1937, pp. 202-210.
HOMO (Léon), Lexique de topographie romaine, Paris, C. Klincksieck, 1900, pp. 10-16.
LANCIANI (Rodolfo) The ruins & excavations of ancient Rome, London 1897.
LUGLI (Giuseppe), Roma Antica. Il centro monumentale, Rome, Bardi, 1946, pp. 319-346.
MACCO (Michela Di), Il Colosseo : funzione simbolica, storica, urbana, Rome, Bulzoni, 1971.
MANODORI (Alberto), Anfiteatri,circhi e stadi di Roma : i piu suggestivi monumenti dell'antichita rivivono tra storia e leggenda in spettacoli di sangue e di gloria : dai giochi dei gladiatori alle naumachie alle lotte con le belve, Rome, Newton Compton, 1982, pp. 75-110.
MOCCHEGIANI CARPANO (Claudio), LUCIANI (R.), " I restauri dell'Anfiteatro Flavio ", RIA, 4, 1981, pp. 9-69.
MOCCHEGIANI CARPANO (Claudio), " Interventi nell'Anfiteatro Flavio ", Roma, Archeologia nel centro, I : L'area archeologica centrale, 1985, pp. 122-124..
NASH (Ernest), Pictorial Dictionary of Ancient Rome, Londres, Thames and Hudson, 1968, 2 vol, tome 1, pp. 17-25.
PARKER (John Henry ), The Flavian amphitheater, Oxford, 1996.
PASCOLINI (Aldo), Il Colosseo, Rome, Armando, 1979.
PEARSON (J.), " Arena. The story of the Colosseum ", BSEAA, 48, 1977, pp. 521-522.
PLATNER (Samuel Ball), ASHBY (Thomas), A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome, Rome, l'ERMA, 1965, (1ere édition Oxford-Londres, Oxford University Press, 1929), pp. 6-11.
QUENNELL, Peter. The Colosseum; Nesweek, New York, 1971.
REA, R., Il Colosseo e la valle da Teodorico ai Frangipane: note di studio
RICHARDSON (Lawrence Jr.), A new topographical dictionary of ancient Rome, Baltimore, John Hopkins University Press, 1992 (1ere édition Oxford-Londres 1929), pp. 7-10.
RODOCANACHI (Emmanuel Pierre), Les Monuments antiques de Rome encore existants : les ponts, les murs, les voies, les enceintes de Rome, les palais, les temples, les arcs, Paris, Hachette, 1920, pp. 120-138.
SABLAYROLLES (Robert), " Le Colisée brûle-t-il? ", Spectacula I, Actes du Colloque tenu à Toulouse et Lattes du 26 au 29 mai 1987, éd. par DOMERGUE Claude, LANDES Christian et PAILLER Jean-Marie, 1990, pp. 129-134.
SPINAZZOLA (Vittorio), L'Anfiteatro Flavio. Storia degli scavi ed ultime scoperte (1590-1895), Naples, R. Marghieri, 1907.
SUETONIUS, edited by Gavorse, Joseph. The Lives of the Twelve Caesars; Random House, New York, 1931.
WELLS, J. and BARROW, R.H. A Short History of the Roman Empire to the Death of Marcus Aurelius; Barnes and Noble, New York,1931

CLASSIC LITERARY SOURCES ON THE FLAVIAN AMPHITHEATRE: The following is a list of the ancient literary sources on the Colosseum (mostly from R. Rea - Anfiteatro Flavio – Quasar, 1988)
The list is, according to latest studies (1999), complete, and the modern help of computerized research on text data base performed by University institutes did not produce any addition to the results  of a previous work by M. Panvini Cotellessa, care of G. Lugli (cited by F. Consalvi, in Disegnare)
I have added more sources which are not strictly specific to the Colosseum.
l. CHRONOGR. a 354: Hic (Vespasianus) prior tribus gradibus amphiteatrum dedicavit.
2. CHRONOGR. a. 354: Hic (Titus) amphitheatro a tribus gradibus patris sui duos adiecit.
3. CHRONOGR. a. 354: Domitianus imperavit annos XVII, menses V. dies V. Hoc imperante multae operae publicae fabricatae sunt; atria VII, horrea piperataria, ubi modo est basilica Constantiniana et horrea Vespastani, templum Castorum et Minervae, portam Capenam, gentem Flaviam, Divorum, Iseum et Serapeum, Minervam Chalcidicam, Odeum, Minuciam veterem, Stadium, et thermas Titianas et Traianas, Amphiteatrum usque ad clypea, templum Vespasiani et Titi, Capitolium, Senatum, ludos IIII, Palatium, Metam Sudantem et Panteum.
4a. SVET., De Vita Ceasarum, Vesp. XI,1: Fecit et nova opera templum Pacis Foro proximum Divique Claudi in Caelio monte coeptum quidem ab Agrippina, sed a Nerone prope funditus desctructum; item amphitheatrum urbe media, ut destinasse comperat Augustum.
4b. SVET., De Vita Ceasarum, Tit., VII,3: Et tamen nemine ante se munificentia minor, amphitheatro dedicato thermisque tuxta celeriter exstructis munus edidit apparatissimum largissimunque; dedit et navale proeilum in veteri naumachia, ibidem et gladiatores atque uno die quinque milia omne genus ferarum.

4c. SVET.
, De Vita Ceasarum, Dom., IV,1:  Spectacula assidue magnifica et sumptuosa edidit non in amphitheatro modo, verum et in circo, ubi ... ; at in amphitheatro navale quoque.
IDEM, IV, 2. Edidit navalis pugnas paene iustarum classium, effosso et circumstructo iuxta Tiberim lacu, atque inter maximas imbres perspectavit. Fecit et ludos Saeculares.
IDEM, V. Novam autem excitavit aedem in Capitolo Custodi Iovi et forum quod nunc Nervae vocatur, item Flaviae templum gentis et stadium et odium et naumachiam, e cuius postea lapide maximus circus deustis utrimque lateribus extructus est.

5. DIO CASSIUS, LXVI, 25
Most that he did was not characterised by anything noteworthy, but in dedicating the hunting-theatre and the baths that bear his name, he produced many remarkable spectacles. There was a battle between cranes and also between four elephants; animals both tame and wild were slain to the number of nine thousand; and women (not those of any prominence, however) took part in despatching them. 2.As for the men, several fought in single combat and several groups contended together both in infantry and naval battles. For Titus suddenly filled this same theatre with water and brought in horses and bulls and some other domesticated animals that had been taught to behave in the liquid element just as on land. 3. He also brought in people on ships, who engaged in a sea-fight there, impersonating the Corcyreans and Corinthians; and others gave a similar exhibition outside the city in the grove of Gaius and Lucius, a place which Augustus had once excavated for this very purpose. There, too, on the first day there was a gladiatorial exhibition and wild-beast hunt, the lake in front of the images having first been covered over with a platform of planks and wooden stands erected around it. 4. On the second day there was a horse-race, and on the third day a naval battle between three thousand men, followed by an infantry battle. The "Athenians" conquered the "Syracusans" (these were the names the combatants used), made a landing on the islet and assaulted and captured a wall that had been constructed around the monument. These were the spectacles that were offered, and they continued for a hundred days; but Titus also furnished some things that were of practical use to the people. 5He would throw down into the theatre from aloft little wooden balls variously inscribed, one designating some article of food, another clothing, another a silver vessel or perhaps a gold one, or again horses, pack-animals, cattle or slaves. Those who seized them were to carry them to the dispensers of the bounty, from whom they would receive the article named.

6. ACTA FRATRUM ARVALIUM, anno 80 d.C.; C.I.L. VI, 1, 2059.
Loca adsignata in amphit(H)eatro. / L. Aelio Plautio Lamia, Q. Pactumeio Fr(o)ntone cos., / acceptum ab Laberio Maximo, procuratore, praef(ecto) annonae, / L. Vennuleio Apronano (sic) mag(istro), curatore Thyrso l(iberto) / fratribus Arvalibus maeniano I cun(eo) XII, gradib(us) marmo(oreis) VIII; gradu 1 p(edes) V/ (quadrantem, semunciam, sicilicum), f(iunt) ped(es) XXXXII (semis); [[gradu I uno p(edes) XXII (semis);]] et m(a)eniano [[summo]] II / cun(eo) VI gradib(us) marm(oreis) IV, gradu I uno p(edes) XX[[II]] (semis); et maeniano / summo in ligneis tab(ulatione) LIII, gradibus XI, gradu I ped(es) V, (trientem, semunciam) grad(u) XI ped(es) V (semissem, uncias quinque, sicilicum), f(iunt) ped(es) LXIII (semis) (unciae quinque semunci); summa ped(es) CXXVIII (semis unciae quinque, semuncia).

7. EUTROPIUS, VII 21, 4: Hic (Titus) Romae amphiteatrum aedificavit et quinque milia ferarum in dedicatione eius occidit.

SEXTUS AURELIUS VICTOR, De Caesaribus. 10, 5 : Ita biennio post ac menses fere novem amphiteatri Perfecto opere lautusque veneno interiit (Titus)...
Idem, 9,7: Namque Romae Capitolium, quod conflagravisse supra memoravimus, aedes Pacis, Claudii monumenta, amphitheatri tanta vis, multaque alia ac forum coepta seu patrata.

HIERONYMUS, Chronicle p. 189 (anno p.C. 79): Titus amphitheatrum Romac aedificat...

CASSIODORUS, Var. V, 425: Maximo v.i. consuli Theodericus rex .... : Hoc Titi potentia principalis, divitiarum profuso lumine, cogitavit aedificium fieri, unde caput urbium potuisset.
IDEM, Chron. (M.G.H., A.A. XI, p. 139, 711-712) (anno p. c. 83): Domitianus II et Rufus II. His conss. Titus amphitheatrum Romae aedificavit et in dedicatione eius V milia ferarum occidet.

PROSP., Chron (M. G. H., A. A. IX, p. 416, 495-496): Domitiano IIII et Rufo (coss). Titus amphitheatrum Romae aedificavit et in dedicatione eius V milla ferarum occidit.

BEDA, Chron. maiora (M. G. H., A. A. XIII, p. 285, 300): Hic (Titus) amphitheatrum Romae aedificat et in dedicatione eius V milia ferarum occidit.

8. M. VALERIUS MARTIALIS, De Spectaculis, I (for the whole poem click here):
Barbara pyramidum sileat miracula Memphis,
Assiduus jactet nec Babylona labor.
Nec Triviæ Templo molles laudentur honores,
Dissimuletque Deum cornibus ara frequens.
Aere nec vacuo pendentia Mausolea
Laudibus immodicis Cares in astra ferant.
Omnis Cæsareo cedat labor Amphiteatro:
Unum pro cunctis Fama loquatur opus.

IDEM, De Spectaculis, II (for the whole poem click here):
Hic ubi sidereus propius videt astra colossus
et crescunt media pegmata celsa via,
invidiosa feri radiabant atria regis
unaque iam tota stabat in urbe domus.
Hic ubi conspicui venerabilis amphitheatri
erigitur moles, stagna Neronis erant.
Hic ubi miramur velocia numera thermas,
abstulerat miseris tecta superbus ager.
Claudia diffusas ubi porticus explicat umbras,
ultima pars aulae deficientis erat.
Reddita Roma sibi est et sunt te praeside, Caesar,
deliciae populi, quae fuerant domini.

IDEM, De Spectaculis, XXX (XXVIII):
Augusti labor hic fuerat committere classes
et freta navali sollicitare tuba.
Caesaris haec nostri pars est quota? vidit in undis et Thetis
ignotas et Galatea feras;
vidit in aequoreo ferventes pulvere currus
et domini Triton isse putavit equos:
dumque parat saevis ratibus fera proelia Nereus,
horruit in liquidis ire pedestris aquis.
Quidquid et in circo spectatur et amphitheatro,
dives Caesarea praestitit unda tibi.
Fucinus et diri taceantur stagna Neronis:
hanc norint unam saecula naumachiam.

9a. HIER., Chron., p. 191: multa opera Romae facta, in quis ... Ludus Matutinus, Mica Aurea, Meta Sudans ..

9b. PROSP., Chron.: Multa opera Rornae facta, in quis Capitolium... Meta Sudans..

9c. CASSIOD., His. (Domitiano X117I et Clemente II) conss. insignissima Romae facta sunt, id est … Meta Sudans..

10. AMMIANUS MARCELLINUS,  Rerum Gestarum Libri  16.10.14  (ca. A.D. 380):
Non enim, ut per civitates alias, ad arbitrium suum certamina finiri patiebatur, sed ut mos est variis casibus permittebat. Deinde intra septem montium culmina per adclivitates planitiemque posita urbis membra conlustrans et suburbana, quicquid viderat primum, id eminere inter alia cuncta sperabat: Iovis Tarpei delubra, quantum terrenis divina praecellunt: lauacra in modum provinciarum extructa: amphitheatri molem solidatam lapidis Tiburtini compage, ad cuius summitatem aegre visio humana conscendit: Pantheum velut regionem teretem speciosa celsitudine fornicatam: elatosque vertices scansili suggestu consulum et priorum principum imitamenta portantes, et Urbis templum forumque Pacis et Pompei theatrum et Odeum et Stadium aliaque inter haec decora urbis aeternae.
Here is a translation:
He did not, for example, as he did in other cities, allow the length of the combats to depend on his own will, but followed the local custom and left them to finish in their various ways as events dictated.When he surveyed the different regions of the city and its environs, lying along the slopes and on level ground within the circle of the seven hills, it seemed to him that whatever his eye first lit on took the palm. It might be the shrine of Tarpeian Jupiter, beside which all else is like earth compared to heaven, or the buildings of the baths as big as provinces, or the solid mass of stone from Tibur that forms the amphitheater, with its top almost beyond the reach of human sight, or the Pantheon spread like a self-contained district under its high and lovely dome, or the lofty columns with spiral stairs to platforms which support the statues of former emperors, or the temple of Rome, or the Forum of Peace, the theater of Pompeius or the Odeum of the Stadium, or any one of the other sights of the Eternal City. (W. Hamilton, trans.)

11. RUFIUS CECINA FELIX LAMPADIUS - This inscription was restored between 1814 and 1822 and again, more accurately, in 1986. It refers to the repair of the building during the reigns of Theodosius II and Valentinian III in 443 or 444. This particular inscription is important also because it has been carved on a slab by erasing a former inscription made with bronze letters, which was deciphered in 1995 and it was found to commemorate the original dedication of the amphitheatre by Vespasian, with the confirmation that the Colosseum was built with the spoils of war , i.e. the booty of the Palestinian war and the plundering of the Temple of Jerusalem.
Salv[is dd.]nn. (= dominis nostris duobus) Theodosio et Placido V[alentiniano Augg.(= Augustis duobus)] / Rufi.[us] Caecina Felix Lampadius v(ir) c(larissimus) [et inl(ustris) praef(ectus) urbi] / har.[e]nam amphiteatri a novo una cum po[dio et pulpito (?) et portis] / p[ost]icis sed et reparatis spectaculi gradibus [ex sumptu suo restituit(?)].

TRANSLATION
“With our two lords, Theodosius and Placidus Valentianus Augusti, being well, Rufius Caecina Felix Lampadius, a most distinguished and illustrious prefect of the city, restored anew at his own expense the arena of the amphitheater together with the podium [the wall around the arena] and platform and rear doors, but also the tiers [of seats] repaired for viewing.”

12. VENANTIUS BASILIUS - An inscription commemorates the works that the Praefectus Urbi of year 484, Decius Marius Venantius Basilius, had had done at his own expense to repair the arena and the podium, damaged by an "abominandus" earthquake.

THE TEXT
Decius Marius Venantius Basilius
v(ir) c(larissimus) et inl(ustris) praef(ectus) urb(i) patricius consul ordinarius
arenam et podium quae abominandi terrae motus ruina prostravit
sum(p)tu proprio restituit

THE TRANSLATION
DECIUS MARIUS VENANTIUS BASILIUS, VERY FAMOUS AND
WELL KNOWN PREFECT OF THE CITY, PATRICIAN, REGULAR CONSUL,
RESTORED THE ARENA AND THE PODIUM WHICH A DREADED MOVEMENT OF THE EARTH HAD CAST DOWN INTO RUIN,
AT HIS OWN EXPENSE.

13. VALERIUS MAXIMUS
FACTORVM ET DICTORVM MEMORABILIVM LIBRI NOVEM
4.5.1 Sed ut a laudibus eius ad facta ueniamus, a condita urbe usque ad Africanum et Ti. Longum consules promiscuus senatui et populo spectandorum ludorum locus erat. numquam tamen quisquam ex plebe ante patres conscriptos in theatro spectare sus tinuit: adeo circumspecta ciuitatis nostrae uerecundia fuit. quae quidem certissimum sui documentum etiam illo die exhibuit, quo L. Flamininus extrema in parte theatri constitit, quia a M. Catone et L. Flacco censoribus senatu m<otus> fuerat, consulatus iam honore defunctus, frater etiam T. Flaminini Macedoniae Philippique uictoris: omnes enim transire eum in locum dignitati suae debitum coegerunt.

14. CIL 06, 00955 (p 3070, 3777, 4309)        
Imp(eratori) Caesari / divi Nervae f(ilio) / Nervae Traiano / Aug(usto) Germanico / Dacico pontifici / maximo tribunic(ia) / pot(estate) VII imp(eratori) IIII co(n)s(uli) V p(atri) p(atriae) / tribus XXXV / quod liberalitate / Optimi principis / commoda earum etiam / locorum adiectione / ampliata sint

Francesco Petrarca wrote in a letter about the 1349 earthquake:
"... cecidit aedificiorum veterum neglecta civibus, stupenda peregrinis moles" (the massive building that so amazes the pilgrims fell among the old houses abandoned by the citizens)

LITERARY SOURCES  ON AMPHITHEATRES:
Arch of Titus: CIL 6.944 for the dedicatory inscription, which reveals that the structure was dedicated after Titus' death

PETRONIUS ARBITERSatyricon, XLV:
Oro te, inquit Echion centonarius, melius loquere. 'Modo sic, modo sic', inquit rusticus: varium porcum perdiderat. Quod hodie non est, cras erit: sic vita truditur. Non mehercules patria melior dici potest, si homines haberet. Sed laborat hoc tempore, nec haec sola. Non debemus delicati esse; ubique medius caelus est. Tu si aliubi fueris, dices hic porcos coctos ambulare. Et ecce habituri sumus munus excellente in triduo die festa; familia non lanisticia, sed plurimi liberti. Et Titus noster magnum animum habet, et est caldicerebrius. Aut hoc aut illud erit, quid utique. Nam illi domesticus sum, non est miscix. Ferrum optimum daturus est, sine fuga, carnarium in medio, ut amphitheater videat. Et habet unde. Relictum est illi sestertium tricenties: decessit illius pater male. Vt quadringenta impendat, non sentiet patrimonium illius, et sempiterno nominabitur. Iam Manios aliquot habet et mulierem essedariam et dispensatorem Glyconis, qui deprehensus est cum dominam suam delectaretur. Videbis populi rixam inter zelot et amasiunculos. Glyco autem, sestertiarius homo, dispensatorem ad bestias dedit. Hoc est se ipsum traducere. Quid servus peccavit, qui coactus est facere? Magis illa matella digna fuit quam taurus iactaret. Sed qui asinum non potest, stratum caedit. Quid autem Glyco putabat Hermogenis filicem unquam bonum exitum facturam? Ille miluo volanti poterat ungues resecare; colubra restem non parit. Glyco, Glyco dedit suas; itaque quamdiu vixerit, habebit stigmam, nec illam nisi Orcus delebit. Sed sibi quisque peccat. Sed subolfacio quia nobis epulum daturus est Mammaea, binos denarios mihi et meis. Quod si hoc fecerit, eripiat Norbano totum favorem. Scias oportet plenis velis hunc vinciturum. Et revera, quid ille nobis boni fecit? Dedit gladiatores sestertiarios iam decrepitos, quos si sufflasses, cecidissent; iam meliores bestiarios vidi. Occidit de lucerna equites; putares eos gallos gallinaceos: alter burdubasta, alter loripes, tertiarius mortuus pro mortuo, qui haberet nervia praecisa. Vnus licuius flaturae fuit Thraex, qui et ipse ad dictata pugnavit. Ad summam, omnes postea secti sunt; adeo de magna turba 'Adhibete' acceperant: plane fugae merae. 'Munus tamen, inquit, tibi dedi -- et ego tibi plodo.' Computa, et tibi plus do quam accepi. Manus manum lavat.

LUCIUS ANNAEUS SENECA (About 4BC - 65 AD)- Epistulae morales ad Lucilium - a collection of 124 letters dealing with moral issues, written to his friend Lucilius.
Epistula VII. SENECA LUCILIO SUO SALUTEM

Casu in meridianum spectaculum incidi, lusus exspectans et sales et aliquid laxamenti quo hominum oculi ab humano cruore acquiescant. Contra est: quidquid ante pugnatum est misericordia fuit; nunc omissis nugis mera homicidia sunt. Nihil habent quo tegantur; ad ictum totis corporibus ex positi numquam frustra manum mittunt. [4] Hoc plerique ordinariis paribus et postulaticiis praeferunt. Quidni praeferant? non galea, non scuto repellitur ferrum. Quo munimenta? quo artes? omnia ista mortis morae sunt. Mane leonibus et ursis homines, meridie spectatoribus suis obiciuntur. Interfectores interfecturis iubent obici et victorem in aliam detinent caedem; exitus pugnantium mors est. Ferro et igne res geritur. [5] Haec fiunt dum vacat harena. 'Sed latrocinium fecit aliquis, occidit hominem.' Quid ergo? quia occidit, ille meruit ut hoc pateretur: tu quid meruisti miser ut hoc spectes? 'Occide, verbera, ure! Quare tam timide incurrit in ferrum? quare parum audacter occidit? quare parum libenter moritur? Plagis agatur in vulnera, mutuos ictus nudis et obviis pectoribus excipiant.' Intermissum est spectaculum: 'interim iugulentur homines, ne nihil agatur'. Age, ne hoc quidem intellegitis, mala exempla in eos redundare qui faciunt? Agite dis immortalibus gratias quod eum docetis esse crudelem qui non potest discere.
PLINY THE ELDER on the invention of the amphitheatres (Historia Naturalis, Mayhoff Edition, XXXVI, 116-120 for the complete text click here).

116

Aufert animum et a destinato itinere degredi cogit contemplatio tam prodigae mentis aliamque conectit maiorem insaniam e ligno. C. Curio, qui bello civili in Caesarianis partibus obiit, funebri patris mundere cum opibus apparatuque non posset superare Scaurum — unde enim illi vitricus Sulla et Metella mater proscriptionum sectrix? unde M. Scaurus pater, totiens princeps civitatis et Mariani sodalicii rapinarum provincialium sinus? cum iam ne ipse quidem Scaurus sibi par esse posset, quando hoc certe incendi illius praemium habuit convectis ex orbe terrarum rebus, ut nemo postea par esset insaniae illi —

117

ingenio ergo utendum suo Curioni et aliquid excogitandum fuit. operae pretium est scire, quid invenerit, et gaudere moribus nostris ac verso modo nos vocare maiores. theatra iuxta duo fecit amplissima ligno, cardinum singulorum versatili suspensa libramento, in quibus utrisque antemeridiano ludorum spectaculo edito inter sese aversis, ne invicem obstreperent scaenae, repente circumactis — ut constat, post primos dies etiam sedentibus aliquis —, cornibus in se coeuntibus faciebat ampitheatrum gladiatorumque proelia edebat, ipsum magis auctoritatum populum Romanum circumferens.

118

quid enim miretur quisque in hoc primum, inventorem an inventum, artificem an auctorem, ausum aliquem hoc excogitare an suscipere an iubere? super omnia erit populi sedere ausi furor tam infida instabilique sede. en hic est ille terrarum victor et totius domitor orbis, qui gentes, regna diribet, iura exteris mittit, deorum quaedam immortalium generi humano portio, in machina pendens et ad periculum suum plaudens!

119

quae vilitas animarum ista aut quae querella de Cannis! quantum mali potuit accidere! hauriri urbes terrae hiatibus publicus mortalium dolor est: ecce populus Romanus universus, veluti duobus navigiis inpositus, binis cardinibus sustinetur et se ipsum depugnantem spectat, periturus momento aliquo luxatis machinis!

120

et per hoc quaeritur tribuniciis contionibus gratia, ut pensiles tribus quatiat, in rostris quid non ausurus apud eos, quibus hoc persuaserit! vere namque confitentibus populus Romanus funebri munere ad tumulum patris eius depugnavit universus. variavit hanc suam magnificentiam fessis turbatisque cardinibus et amphitheatri forma custodita novissimo die diversis duabus per medium scaenis athletas edidit raptisque e contrario repente pulpitis eodem die victores e gladiatoribus suis produxit. nec fuit rex Curio aut gentium imperator, non opibus insignis, ut qui nihil in censu habuerit praeter discordiam principum.

 

GLADIATORS & GAMES

Barton, Carlin, The Sorrows of the Ancient Romans: The Gladiator and the Monster (Princeton 1993).
Cagniart, Pierre, "The Philosopher and the Gladiator," CW 93 #6 (July/August 2000) 607-18.
Futrell, Alison, Blood in the Arena: The Spectacle of Roman Power (Austin 1997).
Hopkins, Keith, Death and Renewal (Cambridge 1983).
Hornblower, Simon and Spawforth, Antony (edd.), "venationes" in the Oxford Classical Dictionary, third edition, (Oxford 1996), 1586.
Humphrey, John H., "Roman Games" in Civilization of the Ancient Mediterranean: Greece and Rome, vol. II, 1153-65.
Plass, Paul, Arena Sport and Political Suicide (Madison 1995)
Ville, G., "La guerre et le Munus", J.-P. Brisson (ed.), Problèmes de la guerre à Rome (Paris, 1969)
Wiedemann, Thomas, Emperors & Gladiators (London and New York 1995).

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P I C T V R E S

 

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The view from the top of the Fagutale hill

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Roman matrona

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A wonderful plate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Arch of Constantine, the location of the Meta Sudans and the Arch of Titus from the Colosseum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The text of the Arvales' minutes of year 80 AD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The arches of the first floor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The famous picture "Pollice Verso", by Jean León Gérôme