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Ancient Rome: Entertainment for Adults

By Yona Williams    4/16/06

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When an adult wishes to be entertained, there are more things to turn to than ever expected to an individual during ancient times. While we go to the mall, attend the latest film or pop in a blockbuster DVD, what did adults during ancient Roman times do with their free time? In this article, we will explore some of the options that they had available.

 

There were numerous ways to enjoy an entertaining day or evening during the ancient times of Rome. Entertainment events were available throughout the entire day and night, offered a wide-range of choices.  A difference between today’s society and the past was that most of the entertainment options in ancient Rome were free, meaning poor people could sit or stand amongst the rich.

 

In regards to theatrical performances, plays were presented within spacious, open-air theaters. In those days, there were also tons of theaters to choose, where even the smallest could accommodate a crowd consisting of 7,000 people. Going out was also a way to extend the day or should I say night. When wealthy Romans chose to stay in for a night, they could spend an evening at their house, burning an oil lamp for illumination. As for poor locals, they were forced to go to bed as soon as the sunset because they could not afford oil-burning lamps.

 

One of the largest entertainment centers for the public during ancient Rome was the Colosseum, where 45,000 visitors could fit inside. The prime entertainment option to enjoy at this site was the battles that took place between the gladiators. Sometimes, men fought against other men, but it was also not uncommon to see men fighting large beasts, such as lions and tigers. This battles always promised an adrenaline-pumped show, filled with blood and gore. The ancient Romans viewed men being killed as quite an entertaining activity. They took this form of entertainment so far, that they even filled the Colosseum with water and provided spectators with naval battles. Many lost their lives during this sort of competition. Just look at the movie, Gladiator, featuring Russell Crowe and you will get an idea of the type of battles were displayed.

 

Chariot racing also provided a good time. At the Circus Maximus, 250,000 people could view this event. Throughout ancient Rome, there were plenty of other circuses to attend.  Another site called the Campus, was where the Roman Games were held. The area was the former location for the training of soldiers, but later became the site offering a display of track and field events. The Campus served as an exercise area for the likes of Caesar and Augustus. Throughout Rome, many came to exercise and compete in a variety of competitions. Some of the events that were held included foot racing, jumping, archery, wrestling, as well as boxing.

 

Some of the activities that men participated in during ancient Roman times include fencing, throwing, swimming and riding. While in the country, hunting and fishing were quite popular. When at home, men liked to play ball before they ate dinner, including games of catching and throwing. Women did not participate in such games.

 

Although drinking wine was a daily ritual, women were not allowed to do so in the early days. It could even result in a severe beating if a husband found out that his wife had been drinking. When the Empire days took over, women were allowed to enjoy wine. Life during the Empire was quite different than the early Roman days.

 

 

 

 

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