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The Roman games were all about justice being seen to be done. Do you agree?

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Question: The Roman games were all about justice being seen to be done. Do you agree? On top of justice is being done, we need to look at the functions of the games from the Romans' point of view. As Thomas Wiedemann says "simply to give way to our emotions is not enough" (RB1, C11, P.101). Wiedemann wanted us to understand the ancient Romans' beliefs and customs in watching the games. Based from my reading materials, it was not true as the Roman games were more than a medium of public entertainment. In this essay, I will look at the various aspects in which the Roman games were not only about justice, drawing on a variety of sources to support each claim. Firstly, the Romans viewed the games as a form of entertainment. These 'games' included gladiator fights, wild-beast displays and events in which condemned criminals and later, Christians were put to death held in the Colosseum were an integral part of the Roman culture. ...read more.


Ancient writer like Apuleius glorified the game shows as public pleasure (RB1, C3, P.94). In other words, it possesses entertainment value for the Romans. Thirdly, the games emphasized Roman power. It was a practical sign that Romans were proud of their strength and stamina that made Rome great. To the Romans, it was a "symbol of the ordered world, the 'cosmos', and it was the emperor who was the guarantor of that order" (RB1, C11, P.104). However, Ciero's attitude towards gladiator shows was inhuman (RB1, C8, P.98). Thus, it was more to encourage Romans' cruelty and their courage shown at the games. Fourthly, the games offered the brave a possibility of social rebirth. The Romans commended bravery and a criminal gladiator may be granted life if he comes back alive as a victor. The "symbolism of public execution" seemed to be "deeply ingained in" the Christian consciousness (RB1, C11, P101-107). The decision to pardon brave and successful fighters was also a collective and popular one, according to Wiedemann. ...read more.


Lastly, the games also acted as a source of betting. The Romans would bet on which gladiator would win. This display the cruel and bloodthirsty nature of the ancient Romans who treated this as a form of enjoyment rather than justice was being seen here. Beside that, the Romans also found that killing beasts as a struggle with nature and they even thought that they were establishing civilization by doing so. Wiedemann says "Gladiatorial shows and wild-beast games...made the onlookers...temporarily incapable of rational thought" (RB1, C11, P.101-102). Thus, the Romans enjoyed watching the games rather than seeing that justice was being done. After looking at several sources, we realise that the Roman games involved more than justice for the number of reasons - show of imperial strength, punishment of criminals, betting, killing of wild-beasts and most importantly, as a source of entertainment and amusement. Given the condition of those times, these games were needed the continuation of Roman power throughout the world by the emperor to enhance the glory and emphasize their patronage of all citizens. Hence, in view of the above mentioned, the Roman games were not all about justice being seen to be done. (914 words) 1 ...read more.

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