1. The Family
  2. Roman Names
  3. Marriage and Women
  4. Children and Education
  5. Slaves and Dependents
  6. The House and Furniture
  7. Dress and Ornaments
  8. Food and Meals
  9. Amusements
  10. Travel and Correspondence
  11. Sources of Income
  12. Farming and Country Life
  13. Town Life
  14. Funeral Customs
  15. The Roman Religion
  16. The Water Supply of Rome

The Private Life of the Romans
by Harold Whetstone Johnston, Revised by Mary Johnston
Scott, Foresman and Company (1903, 1932)


Table of contents



REFERENCES: Marquardt, 269-297, 834-861, Staatsverwaltung, III, 482-566; Becker Göll, III, 104-157, 455-480; Friedländer, II, 40-117; Pauly-Wissowa, under amphitheātrum, calx, circus, Bäder; Smith, Harper’s, Rich, Walters, Daremberg-Saglio, under balneum or balneae, circus, gladiātor, theātrum, and other Latin words in the text of this book; Encyclopaedia Britannica, fourteenth edition, under “Bath,” “Amphitheatre,” “Circus,” “Theatre”; Blümner, 420-441; Baumeister, 70-73, 241-244, 694, 1730-1758, 2089-2111; Sandys, Companion, 204-205, 501-521; Mau-Kelsey, 141-164, 186-211, 212-226; Cagnat-Chapot, I, 172-226, II, 204-228, 478-490; Jones, 115-141, 350-377; McDaniel, 141-167; Showerman, 308-365.

Introduction (§316)

Sports of the Campus Mārtius (§317)

Games of Ball (§318)

Games of Chance (§319)

Knucklebones (§320)

Dice (§321)

Public and Private Games (§322)

Dramatic Performances (§323)

Staging the Play (§324)

The Early Theater (§325)

The Later Theater (§326-327)

The Circus (§328-329)

Plan of the Circus (§330-331)

The Arena (§332)

The Carcerēs (§333-334)

The Spīna and the Mētae (§335-336)

The Seats (§337-338)

The Factiōnēs of the Circus (§339)

The Teams (§340)

The Drivers (§341)

Famous Aurīgae (§342)

Other Shows of the Circus (§343)

Gladiatorial Combats (§344-345)

Popularity of the Combats (§346)

Sources of Supply (§347-348)

Schools for Gladiators (§349-350)

Places of Exhibition (§351)

Amphitheaters at Rome (§352)

The Amphitheater at Pompeii (§353-355)

The Coliseum (§356-358)

Styles of Fighting (§359)

Weapons and Armor (§360)

Announcements of the Shows (§361)

The Fight Itself (§362)

The Rewards (§363)

Other Shows in the Amphitheater (§364)

The Daily Bath (§365)

Essentials for the Bath (§366-367)

Heating the Bath (§368)

The Caldārium (§369)

The Frīgidārium and the Ūnctōrium (§370)

A Private Bathhouse (§371)

The Public Baths (§372)

Management (§373)

Bathing Hours (§374)

Accommodations for Women (§375)

Thermae (§376-377)

The Baths of Diocletian (§378)

   316. After the games of childhood (§§ 102-103), the Roman did not, as we do, pass on to an elaborate system of competitive games. FIG. 193: A DISCUS THROWER. In the Vatican Museum, RomeOf sport in that sense he knew nothing. He played ball before dinner for the good of the exercise. He practiced riding, fencing, wrestling, hurling the discus (Fig. 193), and swimming for the skill in arms and the strength they gave him. In the country there might be hunting and fishing (§ 454). He played a few games of chance for the excitement the stakes afforded. But there was no national game for the young men, and there were no social amusements in which men and women took part together. The Roman made it hard and expensive, too, for others to amuse him. He cared more for farces (mimes and pantomimes) than for the drama, tragic or comic; but the one thing that really appealed to him was excitement, and this he found in gambling or in such amusements only as involved the risk of injury to life and limb—the sports of the circus and the amphitheater. FIG. 194: A BOXER. A bronze statue in the Museo Nazionale, RomeWe may describe first the games in which the Roman himself participated and then those at which he was a mere spectator. In the first class are field sports and games of hazard, in the second the public and private games (lūdī pūblicī et prīvātī).

   317. Sports of the Campus Mārtius. The Campus Mārtius, often called simply the Campus included all the level ground between the Tiber and the Capitoline and Quirinal Hills. The northwestern portion of this plain, bounded on two sides by the Tiber, which here sweeps abruptly to the west, was kept clear of public and private buildings and was for centuries the playground of Rome. Here the young men gathered to practice the athletic games mentioned above, naturally in the cooler parts of the day. Even men of graver years did not disdain a visit to the Campus after the merīdiātiō (§ 302), in preparation for the bath before dinner, instead of which the younger men preferred to take a cool plunge in the convenient river. FIG. 195: THE WRESTLERS. A statue in the Uffizi Gallery, FlorenceThe sports themselves were those that we are accustomed to group together as track and field athletics. The men ran foot races, jumped, threw the discus (Fig. 193), practiced archery, and had wrestling and boxing matches. These sports were carried on then much as they are now if we may judge by Vergil’s description in Book V of the Aeneid, but an exception must be made of the games of ball. These seem to have been very dull as compared with ours. It must be remembered, however (§ 316), that they were played more for the healthful exercise they furnished than for the joy of the playing, and by men of high position, too—Caesar, Maecenas, and even the Emperor Augustus.

   318. Games of Ball. Balls of different sizes, variously filled with hair, feathers, and air (follēs: Fig. 196), are known to have been used in the different games. Throwing and catching formed the basis of all the games; the bat was practically unknown. In the simplest game the player threw the ball as high as he could and tried to catch it before it struck the ground. Variations of this were what we should call juggling: the player kept two or more balls in the air, throwing and catching by turns with another player. Another game must have resembled our handball; it required a wall and smooth ground at its foot. The ball was struck with the open hand against the wall, allowed to fall back upon the ground and to bound, and then struck back against the wall in the same manner. The aim of the player was to keep the ball going in this way longer than his opponent could. Private houses and the public baths often had courts especially prepared for this amusement. A third game was called trigōn, and was played by three persons stationed at the angles of an equilateral triangle. Two balls were used and the aim of the player was to throw the ball in his possession at the one of his opponents who would be the less likely to catch it. As two might throw at the third at the same moment, or as the thrower of one ball might have to receive the second ball at the very moment of throwing, FIG. 196: FOLLESboth hands had to be used, and a good degree of skill with each hand was necessary. Other games, all of throwing and catching, are mentioned here and there, but none is described with sufficient detail to be clearly understood.

   319. Games of Chance. The Romans were passionately fond of games of chance, and gambling was so universally associated with such games that they were forbidden by law, even when no stakes were actually played for. A general indulgence seems to have been granted during the Saturnalia in December, and public opinion allowed old men to play at any time. The laws were hard to enforce, however, as such laws usually are, and large sums were won and lost, not merely at general gambling resorts, but also at private houses. Games of chance, in fact, with high stakes, were one of the greatest attractions at the men’s dinners that have been mentioned (§ 314). The most common form of gambling was like our “heads or tails”; coins were used as with us, and the value of the stakes depended on the means of the player. Another common form was our “odd or even”: each player guessed in turn whether the number of counters held by another player was odd or even, and in turn held counters concealed in his outstretched hand for his opponent to guess in like way. The stake was usually the contents of the hand, though side bets were not unusual. In a variation of this game the players tried to guess the actual number of the counters held in the hand. Of more interest, however, were the games of knucklebones and dice.

   320. Knucklebones. Knucklebones (tālī) of sheep and goats, and imitations of them in ivory, bronze, and stone, were used as playthings by children and in gaming by men. Children played our game of jackstones with them: they threw five into the air at once and caught as many as possible on the back of the hand. The length of the tālī was greater than their width and they had, therefore, four long sides and two short ends. The ends were rounded off or pointed, so that the tālī could not stand on them. Of the four long sides two were broader than the others. Of the two broader sides one was concave, the other convex; of the narrower sides one was flat and the other indented. Since no two sides had the same shape, the tālī did not require marking as do our dice, but for convenience they were some times marked with the numbers 1, 3, 4, and 6; the numbers 2 and 5 were omitted. Four tālī were used at a time, either thrown into the air from the hand or thrown from a dice box (fritillus); the side on which the bone rested was counted, not that which came up. Thirty-five different throws were possible, each of which had its individual name and value. Four aces were the lowest throw, called the Vulture, while the highest, called the Venus, was when all the tālī lay differently. It was this throw that designated the magister bibendī (§ 313).

   321. Dice. The Romans also had dice (tesserae) precisely like our own. The Roman dice were made of ivory, stone, or of close-grained wood, and each side was marked with dots, from one to six in number. Three of them, thrown from the fritillus, were used at a time, as were knucklebones, but the sides that came up counted. The highest possible throw was three sixes, the lowest was three aces. FIG. 199: PLAYING DICE. From a fresco at PompeiiIn ordinary gaming the aim of every player seems to have been to throw a higher number than his opponent, but there were also games played with dice on boards with counters, that must have been something like our backgammon, uniting skill with chance. Little more of these is known than their names, but a board used for some such game is shown in Figure 215. If one considers how much space is given in our newspapers to the game of baseball, and how impossible it would be for a person who had never seen a game of ball to get a correct idea of one from the newspaper descriptions only, it will not seem strange that we know so little of Roman games.

   322. Public and Private Games. With the historical development of the Public Games this book has no concern (§ 2). It is sufficient to say that these free exhibitions, given at first in honor of some god, or gods, at the cost of the State and extended and multiplied for political purposes until all religious significance was lost, had come by the end of the Republic to be the chief pleasure in life for the lower classes in Rome; indeed Juvenal declares that free bread (§ 286) and the games of the circus (§ 328) were the people’s sole desire. Not only were these games free, but, when they were given, all public business was stopped and all citizens were forced to take a holiday. These holidays became rapidly more and more numerous; by the end of the Republic sixty-six days were taken up by the games, and in the reign of Marcus Aurelius (161-180 A.D.) no less than one hundred thirty-five days out of the year were thus closed to business.1 Besides these standing games, others were often given for extraordinary events, and funeral games were common when great men died. These last occasions were not made legal holidays. For our purposes the distinction between public and private games is not important; games may be classified, according to the nature of the exhibitions, as lūdī scaenicī, dramatic entertainments given in a theater, lūdī circēnsēs, chariot races and other exhibitions given in a circus, and mūnera gladiātōria, shows of gladiators, given usually in an amphitheater. It must be understood that there was no commercial theater, and that plays were shown only in connection with the games mentioned above.

   323. Dramatic Performances. The history of the development of the drama at Rome belongs, of course, to the history of Latin literature. In classical times dramatic performances consisted of comedies (cōmoediae), tragedies (tragoediae), farces (mīmī), and pantomimes (pantomīmī). The farces and pantomimes were used chiefly as interludes and after-pieces, though with the common people they were the most popular of all and outlived the others. Tragedy never had any real hold at Rome, and only the liveliest comedies gained favor on the stage. The only complete Roman comedies that have come down to us are those of Plautus and Terence, all adaptations from Greek originals, all depicting Greek life, and represented in Greek costumes (fābulae palliātae). They were a good deal more like our comic operas than our comedies; large parts were recited to the accompaniment of music and other parts were sung while the actors danced. Since Roman theaters were not provided with any means of lighting, the plays were always presented in the daytime. In the early period they were given after the noon meal (§ 301), but by Plautus’s time they had come to be given in the morning. The average comedy must have required about two hours for its performance, if we make allowances for the occasional music between the scenes.

   324. Staging the Play. The play, as well as the other sports, was under the supervision of the state officials in charge of the games at which it was given. They contracted for the production of the play with some recognized manager (dominus gregis), who was usually an actor of acknowledged ability and had associated with him a troupe (grex) of others inferior only to himself. The actors were all slaves (§ 143), and men took the parts of women. There was no fixed limit to the number of actors, but motives of economy would lead the dominus to produce each play with the smallest number possible, and two or even more parts were often assigned to one actor. The characters in the comedies mentioned above, the fābulae palliātae, wore the ordinary Greek dress of daily life, and the costumes (Fig. 200) were, therefore, not expensive. The only make-up required in the days of Plautus and Terence was paint for the face, especially for the actors who took women’s parts, and wigs that were used conventionally to represent different characters, gray for old men, black for young men, red for slaves, etc. These and the few properties (ōrnāmenta) necessary were furnished by the dominus. It seems to have been customary also for him to feast the actors at his expense if their efforts to entertain were unusually successful.

FIG. 201
Part of the seats have been restored in modern times. The tower is from medieval fortifications.

   325. The Early Theater. During the period when the best plays were being written (200-160 B.C.) by Plautus and Terence, very little was done for the accommodation of the actors or the audience. The stage was merely a temporary platform, the width of which was much greater than its depth; it was built at the foot of a hill or a grass-covered slope. There were few of the things that we are accustomed to associate with a stage; there were no curtains, no flies, no scenery that could be changed, not even a sounding board to aid the actor’s voice. There was no way to represent the interior of a house. For a comedy the stage represented a street. At the back of the stage were shown, usually, the fronts of two or three houses with windows and doors that could be opened; sometimes there was an alley or passageway between two of the houses. This was the regular setting for the play, and consequently the dramatist was forced to place there scenes and conversations that might normally be expected to take place indoors.2 An altar stood on the stage, we are told, to remind the people of the religious origin of the games. No better provision was made for the audience than for the actors. The people took their places on the slope before the stage, some reclining on the grass, some standing, some, perhaps, sitting on stools which they had brought from home. There were always din and confusion to try the actor’s voice, pushing and crowding; disputing and quarreling, wailing of children; and in the very midst of the play the report of something livelier to be seen elsewhere might draw the whole audience away.

FIG. 202

   326. The Later Theater. Beginning about 145 B.C., however, efforts were made to improve upon this poor apology for a theater, in spite of the opposition of those who considered the plays ruinous to morals. In that year a wooden theater provided with seats was erected on Greek lines, but the senate caused it to be pulled down as soon as the games were over.3 It became a fixed custom, however, for such a temporary theater (with special and separate seats for senators and, much later, for the knights) to be erected as often as plays were given at public games, until in 55 B.C. Pompeius Magnus erected the first permanent theater at Rome. It was built of stone after the plans of one he had seen at Mytilene and could probably seat seventeen thousand people; Pliny the Elder says forty thousand.4 This theater showed two noteworthy divergences from its Greek model. The Greek theaters were excavated out of the side of the hill, while the Roman theater was erected on level ground (that of Pompeius was erected in the Campus Mārtius) and gave, therefore, a better opportunity for exterior magnificence. The Greek theater had a space, usually circular, or larger than a semicircle, called the orchestra, before the scaena or scene building; this orchestra or dancing-place gave room for the choruses of the Greek drama.

FIG. 203

In the Roman theater the orchestra was not used for the chorus (there was seldom a chorus in a Roman play); the orchestra in a Roman theater was therefore reduced in size until it became an exact semicircle. The seats nearest the orchestra were assigned at Rome to the senators, in the country towns to the magistrates and town council. The first fourteen rows of seats rising immediately behind them were reserved at Rome for the knights. The seats back of these were occupied indiscriminately by the people, on the principle, apparently, of first come, first served. No other permanent theaters were erected at Rome until 13 B.C., when two were constructed. The smaller, that of Balbus,5 is said to have had room for eleven thousand spectators, the larger, erected in honor of Marcellus, the nephew of Augustus, for twenty thousand.5 These improved playhouses made possible spectacular elements in the performances that the rude scaffolding of early days had not permitted, and these spectacles proved the ruin of the legitimate drama. To make realistic the scenes representing the pillaging of a city, Pompeius is said to have furnished troops of cavalry and bodies of infantry, hundreds of mules laden with real spoils of war, and three thousand mixing bowls (§ 314). In comparison with these three thousand mixing bowls, the avalanches, runaway locomotives, airplane crashes, and cathedral scenes of modern times seem poor indeed.

FIG. 204
(A restoration.)
This illustration shows the stairways and passages beneath the seats.

   327. The general appearance of these theaters, the type of many erected later throughout the Roman world, may be gathered from Figure 205, the plan of a theater on lines laid down by Vitruvius (§ 187). FIG. 205: PLAN OF A ROMAN THEATER, ACCORDING TO VITRUVIUSGH is the back line of the stage (prōscaenium); between GH and CD is the scaena, devoted to the actors; beyond CD is the cavea, devoted to the spectators. Opposite IKL are the positions of three doors, for those of the three houses mentioned in § 325. The first four rows of seats closest to the stage, in the semicircular orchestra CMD, constitute the part appropriated to the senators. The seats behind these front rows, rising in concentric semicircles, are divided by five passageways into six portions (cuneī); in a similar way the seats above the semicircular passage (praecīnctiō) are divided by eleven passageways into twelve cuneī. FIG. 206: PART OF THE SMALLER THEATER AT POMPEIIAccess to the seats of the senators was afforded by passageways under the seats at the right and the left of the stage, one of which may be seen in Figure 206, which represents a part of the smaller of the two theaters uncovered at Pompeii, built about 80 B.C. Over the vaulted passage will be noticed what must have been the best seats in the theater, which correspond in some degree to the boxes of modern times. Those on one side were reserved for the emperor, if he should be present, or for the officials who superintended the games; those on the other side were reserved for Vestals. These reserved seats were reached only by private staircases on the stage side of the auditorium. Access to the upper tiers of the cavea was given by passageways constructed under the seats and running up to the passageways between the cuneī. These are shown in Figure 204, a theoretical restoration of the theater of Marcellus, already mentioned. Above the highest seats were broad colonnades, affording shelter in case of rain, and above them were tall masts from which awnings (vēla) were spread to protect the people from the sun. The appearance of the stage end may be gathered from Figure 207, which shows the remains of a Roman theater still existing at Orange,6 in the south of France. FIG. 207: EXTERIOR OF THE THEATER AT ORANGEThe great width of the Roman stage, sometimes forty or sixty yards, made practicable certain dramatic devices that seem forced or unnatural on the modern stage, such as asides and dialogues on one part of the stage unheard at another, and the length of time sometimes allowed for crossing the stage. In the later theater changes in scenery were possible; the extant Roman plays, however, seldom require change of scenery. It should be noticed that the stage was connected with the auditorium by the seats over the vaulted passages to the orchestra, and that the curtain was raised from the bottom, to hide the stage, not lowered from the top as ours is now. The slot through which the curtain was dropped can still be seen in some theaters, as at Pompeii. Vitruvius suggested that rooms and porticos be built behind the stage, like the colonnades that have been mentioned, to afford space for the actors and properties, and shelter for the people in case of rain.

   328. The Circus. The games of the circus were the oldest of the free exhibitions at Rome and always the most popular. The word circus means simply a “ring”; the lūdī circēnsēs were, therefore, any shows that might be given in a ring. We shall see below (§ 343) that these shows were of several kinds, but the one most characteristic, the one that is always meant when no other is specifically named, is the chariot race. For these races the first and really the only necessary condition was a large and level piece of ground. This was furnished by the valley between the Aventine and Palatine Hills, and here in prehistoric times the first Roman race course was established. This remained the circus, the one always meant when no descriptive term was added, though, when others were built, it was called sometimes, by way of distinction, the Circus Maximus. None of the others ever approached it in size, in magnificence, or in popularity.

   329. The second circus to be built at Rome was the Circus Flaminius, erected in 221 B.C. by the Caius Flaminius who built the Flaminian Road. It was located in the southern part of the Campus Martius (§ 317), and like the Circus Maximus, was exposed to the frequent overflows of the Tiber. Its position is fixed beyond question—it was near the Capitoline Hill—but the actual remains are very scanty, so that little is known of its size or appearance. The third to be established was erected in the first century A.D. It was named after Caius (Caligula) and Nero, the two emperors who had to do with its construction. It lay at the foot of the Vatican Hill, where St. Peter’s now stands, but we know little more of it than that it was the smallest of the three. These three were the only circuses within the city. In the immediate neighborhood, however, were three others. Five miles out on the Via Portuēnsis was the Circus of the Arval Brethren. About three miles out on the Appian Way was the Circus of Maxentius, erected in 309 A.D. The Circus of Maxentius is the best preserved of all; a restoration and a plan of it are shown in Figures 208 and 209, respectively. On the same road, some twelve miles from the city, in the old town of Bovillae, was a third, making six within easy reach of the people of Rome.

FIG. 209

   330. Plan of the Circus. All the Roman circuses known to us had the same general arrangement, which will be readily understood from the plan of the Circus of Maxentius shown in Figure 209. The long and comparatively narrow stretch of ground which formed the race course (harēna; English, “arena”) is almost surrounded by the tiers of seats, running in two long parallel lines uniting in a semicircle at one end. In the middle of this semicircle is a gate, marked F in the plan, by which the victor left the circus when the race was over. It was called, therefore, the porta triumphālis. Opposite this gate at the other end of the arena was the station for the chariots (AA in the plan), called carcerēs, “barriers,” flanked by two towers at the corners (II), and divided into two equal sections by another gate (B), called the porta pompae, by which processions entered the circus. There are also gates (HH) between the towers and the seats. The exterior appearance of the towers and barriers, called together the oppidum, is shown in Figure 210.

FIG. 210
(A restoration.)

   331. The arena is divided for about two-thirds its length by a fence or wall (MM), called the spīna, “backbone.” Beyond the ends of this were fixed pillars (LL), called mētae, marking the ends of the course. Once around the spīna was a lap (spatium, curriculum), and a fixed number of laps, usually seven to a race, was called a missus. The last lap, however, had but one turn, that at the mēta prīma, the one nearest the porta triumphālis; the finish was a straightaway dash to the calx. This was a chalk line drawn on the arena far enough away from the second mēta to keep it from being obliterated by the hoofs of the horses as they made the turn, and far enough also from the carcerēs to enable the driver to stop his team before dashing into them. The dotted line (DN) is the supposed location of the calx. It will be noticed that the important things about the developed circus are the arēna, carcerēs, spīna, mētae, and the seats, all of which will be more particularly described in succeeding paragraphs.

   332. The Arena. The arena is the level space surrounded by the seats and the barriers. The name was derived from the sand used to cover its surface to spare as much as possible the unshod feet of the horses. A glance at the plan will show that speed could not have been the important thing with the Romans that it is with us. The sand, the shortness of the stretches, and the sharp turns between them were all against great speed. The Roman found his excitement in the danger of the race. In every representation of the race course that has come down to us may be seen broken chariots, fallen horses, and drivers under wheels and hoofs. The distance was not a matter of very close measurement, but varied in the several circuses, the Circus Maximus being fully 300 feet longer than the Circus of Maxentius. All seem, however, to have had a constant number of laps, seven to the race, and this also goes to prove that the danger was the chief element in the popularity of the contests. The distance actually traversed in the Circus of Maxentius may be very closely estimated. The length of the spīna is about 950 feet. If we allow fifty feet for the turn at each mēta, each lap makes a distance of 2000 feet, and six laps, 12,000 feet. The seventh lap had but one turn in it, but the final stretch to the calx made it perhaps 300 feet longer than one of the others, say 2300 feet. This gives a total of 14,300 feet for the whole missus, or about 2.7 miles. Jordan calculates the missus of the Circus Maximus at 8.4 kilometers, which would be about 5.2 miles, but he seems to have taken the whole length of the arena into account, instead of considering merely that of the spīna.

   333. The Carcerēs. The carcerēs were the stations of the chariots and teams when ready for the races to begin. FIG. 212: THE CARCERES. From a relief in the British MuseumThey were a series of vaulted chambers entirely separated from one another by solid walls, and closed behind by doors through which the chariots entered. The front of each chamber was formed by double doors of grated bars admitting the only light which it received. From this arrangement the name carcer was derived. Each chamber was large enough to hold a chariot with its team, and, as a team was composed sometimes of as many as ten horses, the “prison” must have been nearly square. There was always a separate chamber for each chariot. Up to the time of Domitian the highest number of chariots was eight, but after his time as many as twelve sometimes entered the same race, and twelve carcerēs had, therefore, to be provided. FIG. 213: BOX OF THE DATOR LUDORUM. From a relief at RomeThey were a series of The usual number of chariots had been four, one from each syndicate (§ 339), though each syndicate might enter more than one. Half of these chambers lay to the right, half to the left of the porta pompae. The appearance of a section of the carcerēs is shown in Figure 212.

   334. It will be noticed from the plan (Fig. 209) that the carcerēs were arranged in a curved line. This is supposed to have been drawn in such a way that all the chariots, no matter which of the carcerēs one happened to occupy, would have the same distance to travel in order to reach the beginning of the course proper at the nearer end of the spīna. There was no advantage in position, therefore, at the start, and places were assigned by lot. FIG. 214: DIAGRAM SHOWING SPINAThey were a series of In later times a starting line (līnea alba) was drawn with chalk between the second mēta and the seats to the right, but the line of carcerēs remained curved as of old. At the ends of the row of carcerēs, towers were built which seem to have been the stands for the musicians; over the porta pompae was the box of the chief state official of the games (dator lūdōrum) ,and between his box and the towers were seats for his friends and persons connected with the games. The dator lūdōrum gave the signal for the start with a white cloth (mappa). In Figure 213 is shown a victor pausing before the box of the dator to receive a prize before riding in triumph around the arena.

   335. The Spīna and the Mētae. The spīna divided the race course into two parts, and thus measured a minimum distance to be run. Its length was about two-thirds that of the arena, but it started only the width of the track (plus the mētae) from the porta triumphālis; a much larger space at the end near the porta pompae was left entirely free. It was perfectly straight, but did not run precisely parallel to the rows of seats; at the end B in the exaggerated diagram (Fig. 214) BC is greater than the distance AB, FIG. 215: BOARD-GAME SHOWING SPINAin order to allow more room at the starting line (līnea alba, § 334), where the chariots would be side by side, than farther along the course, where they would be strung out. The mētae, so named from their shape (§ 284), were pillars erected beyond the two ends of the spīna and architecturally related to it, though there was a space between the mēta and the spīna. In Republican times the spīna and the mētae must have been made of wood and movable, in order to afford free space for the shows of wild beasts and the exhibitions of cavalry that were originally given in the circus. After the amphitheater was devised, the circus came to be used primarily for races, and the spīna became permanent. It was built up, of massive proportions, on foundations of concrete (§§ 210-211) and was usually adorned with magnificent works of art that must have entirely concealed horses and chariots when they passed to the other side of the arena (§ 336).

   336. A representation of a circus has been preserved to us in a board-game of some sort found at Bovillae (§ 329), which gives an excellent idea of the spīna (Fig. 215). We know from various reliefs and mosaics that the spīna of the Circus Maximus was covered with a series of statues and ornamental structures, such as obelisks, small temples or shrines, columns surmounted by statues, altars, trophies, and fountains. Augustus was the first to erect an obelisk in the Circus Maximus; it was restored in 1589 A.D., and now stands in the Piazza del Popolo; without the base it measures about seventy-eight feet in height. Constantius erected another in the same circus, which now stands before the Lateran Church; it is 105 feet high. The obelisk of the Circus of Maxentius now stands in the Piazza Navona. Besides these purely ornamental features, every circus had on each end of its spīna a pedestal, one supporting seven large eggs (ōva) of marble, the other seven dolphins. One of each was taken down at the end of each lap, in order that the people might know just how many laps remained to be run. Another and very different idea for the spīna is shown in Figure 216 from a mosaic at Lyons. This is a canal filled with water, with an obelisk in the middle. The mētae in their developed form are shown very clearly in this mosaic, three conical pillars of stone set on a semicircular plinth, all of the most massive construction.

FIG. 216
A mosaic at Lyons.

   337. The Seats. The seats around the arena in the Circus Maximus were originally of wood, but accidents owing to decay and losses by fire had led by the time of the Empire to reconstruction in marble, except perhaps in the very highest rows. The seats in the later circuses seem from the first to have been of stone. At the foot of the tiers of seats was a marble platform (podium) which ran along both sides and the curved end; it was therefore coextensive with them. On this podium were erected boxes for the use of the more important magistrates and officials of Rome, and here Augustus placed the seats of the senators and others of high rank. He also assigned seats throughout the whole cavea to various classes and organizations, separating the women from the men, though up to his time they had sat together. Between the podium and the track was a metal screen of openwork. When Caesar showed wild beasts in the circus, he had a canal ten feet wide and ten feet deep dug next the podium and filled with water as an additional protection. Access to the seats was provided from the rear; numerous broad stairways ran up to the praecīnctiōnēs (§ 327), of which there were probably three in the Circus Maximus. The horizontal sections between the praecīnctiōnēs were called maeniāna. Each of these sections was divided by stairways into several cuneī (§ 327); the rows of seats in the cuneī were called gradūs. The sittings in the row do not seem to have been marked off any more than they are now in the bleachers at our baseball grounds. When sittings were reserved for a number of persons, they were described as so many feet in such a row (gradus) of such a wedge (cuneus) of such a section (maeniānum).

FIG. 217

   338. The number of sittings testifies to the popularity of the races. The little circus at Bovillae had seats for at least 8000 people, according to Huelsen, that of Maxentius for about 23,000, while the Circus Maximus, accommodating 60,000 in the time of Augustus, was enlarged to a capacity of nearly 200,000 in the time of Constantius. The seats themselves were supported upon arches of massive masonry; an idea of their appearance from the outside may be had from the exterior view of the Coliseum shown in Figure 231. Every third vaulted chamber under the seats seems to have been used for a staircase; the others were used for shops and booths, and in the upper parts, as rooms for the employees of the circus, who must have been very numerous. Galleries seem to have crowned the seats, as in the theaters (§ 327), and balconies for the emperors were built in conspicuous places, but we are not able, from the ruins, to fix precisely their positions. A general idea of the appearance of the seats from within the arena may, however, be had from an attempted reconstruction of the Circus Maximus (Fig. 217), although the details are uncertain.

   339. The Factiōnēs of the Circus. There must have been a time, of course, when the races in the circus were open to all who wished to show their horses or their skill in driving them, but by the end of the Republic no persons of repute took part in the games, and the teams and drivers were furnished by racing syndicates (factiōnēs), which practically controlled the market so far as trained horses and trained men were concerned. With these syndicates the giver of the games contracted for the number of races that he wanted (ten or twelve a day in Caesar’s time, later twice the number, and even more on special occasions), and they furnished everything needed.

FIG. 219
Marble group in the Vatican Museum, Rome.

These syndicates were named from the colors worn by their drivers. We hear at first of two only, the red (russāta) and the white (albāta); the blue (veneta) was added in the time of Augustus, probably, and the green (prasina) soon after his reign; finally Domitian added two more, the purple and the gold. Great rivalry existed between these organizations. They spent immense sums of money on their horses, importing them from Greece, Spain, and Mauritania, and even larger sums, perhaps, upon the drivers. They maintained training stables on as large a scale as any of which modern times can boast; a mosaic found in one of these establishments in Algeria names among the attendants jockeys, grooms, stableboys, saddlers, doctors, trainers, coaches, and messengers, and shows the horses covered with blankets in their stalls. This rivalry spread throughout the city; each factiō had its partisans, and vast sums of money were lost and won as each missus (§ 331) was finished. All the tricks of the ring were skillfully practiced; horses were “doped,” drivers hired from rival syndicates or bribed, and even poisoned, we are told, when they were proof against bribes. Further, the aid of magicians was invoked to work a spell that should prevent a team from winning.

FIG. 220

   340. The Teams. The chariot used in the races was low and light, closed in front, open behind, with long axles and low wheels to lessen the risk of turning over. The driver seems to have stood well forward in the car, as shown in Figure 220; there was no standing-place behind the axle. The teams consisted of two horses (bīgae), three (trīgae), four (quadrīgae), and in later times six (sēiugēs) or even seven (septeiugēs), but the four-horse team was the most common and may be taken as the type. Two of the horses were yoked together, one on each side of the tongue; the others were attached to the car merely by traces. FIG. 221: A VICTORIOUS AURIGA. A statue now in the Vatican Museum, RomeOf the four the horse to the extreme left was the most important, because the mēta lay always on the left and the highest skill of the driver was shown in turning it as closely as possible. The failure of the horse nearest it to respond promptly to the rein or the word might mean the wreck of the car (by going too close) or the loss of the inside track (by going too wide), and in either case the loss of the race. Inscriptions sometimes give the names of all the horses of the team; sometimes only the horse on the left is mentioned. Before the races began, lists of the horses and drivers in each were published for the guidance of those who wished to stake their money. Though no time was kept, the records of horses and men were followed as eagerly as now. From the nature of the course (§ 332) it is evident that strength and courage and, above all, lasting qualities were more essential than speed. The horses were almost always stallions (mares are very rarely mentioned), and were never raced under five years of age. Considering the length of the course and the great risk of accidents, it is surprising how long the horses lasted. It was not unusual for a horse to figure in a hundred victories (such a horse was called centēnārius); Diocles, who was himself a famous driver, owned a horse that had won two hundred (ducēnārius).

   341. The Drivers. The drivers (agitātōrēs, aurīgae) were slaves or freedmen, some of whom had won their freedom by their skill and daring in the course. Only in the most corrupt days of the Empire did citizens of any social position take actual part in the races. The dress of the driver is shown in Figures 220, 221, and in the frontispiece; especially to be noticed are the close-fitting cap, the short tunic (always of the color of his factiō), laced around the body with leather thongs, the straps of leather around the thighs, the shoulder pads, and the heavy leather protectors for the legs. Our football players wear like defensive armor. The reins were knotted together and passed around the driver’s body. In his belt he carried a knife to cut the reins in case he should be thrown from the car, or to cut the traces if a horse should fall and become entangled in them. The races gave as many opportunities then as now for skillful driving, and required even more strength and daring. What we should call “fouling” was encouraged. The driver might turn his team against another, or might upset the car of a rival if he could; having gained the inside track, he might drive out of the straight course to keep a swifter team from passing his. The rewards were proportionately great. The successful aurīga, though his social station was low, was the pet and pride of the race-mad crowd, and under the Empire, at least, he was courted and fêted by high and low. The pay of successful drivers was extravagant, since the rival syndicates bid against one another for the services of the most popular. Rich presents were given the drivers when they won their races, not only by their factiōnēs, but also by outsiders who had backed them and profited by their skill.

   342. Famous Aurīgae. The names of some of the victors have come down to us in inscriptions (§ 13) composed in their honor or to their memory by their friends. Among these may be mentioned: Publius Aelius Gutta Calpurnianus (§ 59) of the late Empire (1127 victories); Caius Apuleius Diocles, a Spaniard (in twenty-four years 4257 races, 1462 victories; he won the sum of 35,863,120 sesterces, about $1,800,000); Flavius Scorpus (2048 victories by the age of twenty-seven); Marcus Aurelius Liber (3000 victories); Pompeius Muscosus (3559 victories). To these may be added Crescens, an inscription7 in whose honor (found at Rome in 1878) is shown in Figure 222.

   343. Other Shows of the Circus. The circus was used less frequently for exhibitions other than chariot races. FIG. 222: INSCRIPTION IN HONOR OF CRESCENSOf these may be mentioned the performances of the dēsultōrēs, men who rode two horses and leaped from one to the other while they were going at full speed, and of trained horses that performed various tricks while standing on a sort of wheeled platform which gave a very unstable footing. There were also exhibitions of horsemanship by citizens of good standing, riding under leaders in squadrons, to show the evolutions of the cavalry. The lūdus Trōiae was also performed by young men of the nobility; this game is described in the Aeneid, Book V. More to the taste of the crowd were the hunts (vēnātiōnēs); wild beasts were turned loose in the circus to slaughter one another or be slaughtered by men trained for the purpose. We read of panthers, bears, bulls, lions, elephants, hippopotamuses, and even crocodiles (in artificial lakes made in the arena) exhibited during the Republic. In the circus, too, combats of gladiators sometimes took place, but these were more frequently held in the amphitheater.

   One of the most brilliant spectacles must have been the procession (pompa circēnsis) which formally opened some of the public games. It started from the Capitol and wound its way down to the Circus Maximus, entering by the porta pompae (named from it:
§ 330), and passed entirely around the arena. At the head in a car rode the presiding magistrate, wearing the garb of a triumphant general and attended by a slave who held a wreath of gold over his head. Next came a crowd of notables on horseback and on foot, then the chariots and horsemen who were to take part in the games. Then followed priests, arranged by their colleges, and bearers of incense and of the instruments used in sacrifices, and statues of deities on low cars drawn by mules, horses, or elephants, or else carried on litters (fercula) on the shoulders of men. Bands of musicians headed each division of the procession. A feeble reminiscence of all this is seen in the parade through the streets that for many years has preceded the performance of the modern circus.

   344. Gladiatorial Combats. Gladiatorial combats seem to have been known in Italy from very early times. We hear of them first in Campania and Etruria. In Campania the wealthy and dissolute nobles, we are told, made slaves fight to the death at their banquets and revels for the entertainment of their guests. In Etruria the combats go back in all probability to the offering of human sacrifices at the burial of distinguished men, in accordance with ancient belief that blood is acceptable to the dead. The victims were captives taken in war, and it became the custom gradually to give them a chance for their lives by supplying them with weapons and allowing them to fight one another at the grave, the victor being spared, at least for the time. The Romans were slow to adopt the custom; the first exhibition was given in the year 264 B.C., almost five centuries after the assumed date of the founding of the city. That they derived it from Etruria rather than from Campania is shown by the fact that the exhibitions were at funeral games, the earliest at those of Brutus Pera in 264 B.C., Marcus Aemilius Lepidus in 216 B.C., Marcus Valerius Laevinus in 200 B.C., and Publius Licinius in 183 B.C.

   345. For the first one hundred years after their introduction the exhibitions were infrequent, as the dates just given show; those mentioned are all of which we have any knowledge during the period. But after that time they were given more and more frequently, with increasing elaboration. During the Republic, however, they remained in theory at least private games (mūnera), not public games (lūdī), that is, they were not celebrated on fixed days recurring annually, and the givers of the exhibitions had to find a pretext for them in the deaths of relatives or friends, and to defray the expenses from their own pockets. In fact we know of but one instance in which actual magistrates (the consuls P. Rutilius Rufus and C. Manlius, 105 B.C.) gave such exhibitions, and we know too little of the attendant circumstances to warrant us in assuming that they acted in their official capacity. Even under the Empire the gladiators did not fight on the days of the regular public games. Augustus, however, provided the funds for “extraordinary shows” under the direction of the praetors. Under Domitian the aediles-elect were put in charge of the exhibitions which were given regularly in December, the only instance known of fixed dates for the mūnera gladiātōria. All others of which we read are to be considered the freewill offerings to the people of emperors, magistrates, or private citizens.

   346. Popularity of the Combats. The Romans’ love of excitement (§ 316) ultimately made the exhibitions immensely popular. At the first exhibition mentioned in § 344, that in honor of Brutus Pera, only three pairs of gladiators were shown, but in the three that followed, the number of pairs rose in order to twenty-two, twenty-five, and sixty. By the time of Sulla, politicians had found in the mūnera the most effective means to win the favor of the people, and vied with one another in the frequency of the shows and the number of the combatants. Besides this, the politicians made these shows serve as a pretext for surrounding themselves with bands of professional fighters; these fighters were called gladiators whether they were destined for the arena or not. With these they started riots in the streets, broke up public meetings, over-awed the courts, and even directed or prevented the elections. Caesar’s preparations for an exhibition when he was canvasing for the aedileship (65 B.C.) caused such general fear that the senate passed a law limiting the number of gladiators which a private citizen might employ, and he was allowed to exhibit only 320 pairs. The bands of Clodius and Milo made the city a slaughterhouse in 54 B.C., and order was not restored until late in the following year when Pompey as “sole consul” put an end to the battle of the bludgeons with the swords of his soldiers. During the Empire the number of gladiators exhibited almost surpasses belief. Augustus gave eight mūnera, in which no less than ten thousand men fought, but these were distributed through the whole period of his reign. Trajan exhibited as many in four months only of the year 107 A.D., in celebration of his conquest of the Dacians. FIG. 224: A WOUNDED GLADIATOR. From a fresco in PompeiiThe first Gordian, emperor in 238 A.D., gave mūnera monthly in the year of his aedileship, the number of pairs running from 150 to 500. These exhibitions did not cease until the fifth century of our era.

   347. Sources of Supply. In the early Republic the gladiators were captives taken in war, naturally men practiced in the use of weapons (§ 161), who thought death by the sword a happier fate than the slavery that awaited them otherwise (§§ 135, 140). Captives always remained the chief source of supply, though it became inadequate as the demand increased. From the time of Sulla, training schools were established in which slaves with or without previous experience in war were fitted for the business. These were naturally slaves of the most intractable and desperate character (§ 170). From the time of Augustus criminals (in all cases non-citizens) were sentenced to the arena (later “to the lions”), for the most heinous crimes, treason, murder, arson, and the like. Finally, in the late Empire the arena became the last desperate resort of the dissipated and prodigal, and these volunteers were numerous enough to receive as a class the name auctōrātī.

   348. As the number of the exhibitions increased, it became harder and harder to supply the gladiators demanded, for it must be remembered that there were exhibitions in many of the cities of the provinces and in the smaller towns of Italy as well as at Rome. In order to supply this increasing demand, thousands died miserably in the arena whom only the most glaring injustice could number number in the classes mentioned above. In Cicero’s time provincial governors were accused of sending unoffending provincials to be slaughtered in Rome and of forcing Roman citizens, obscure and friendless, of course, to fight in the provincial shows. Later, when the supply of real criminals had run short, it was common enough to send to the arena men sentenced for the pettiest offenses, and to trump up charges against the innocent for the same purpose. The persecution of the Christians was largely due to the demand for more gladiators. So, too, the distinction was lost between actual prisoners of war and peaceful non-combatants; after the fall of Jerusalem all Jews over seventeen years of age were condemned by Titus to work in the mines or fight in the arena. Wars on the border were sometimes waged for the sole purpose of taking men who could be made gladiators; in default of men, women and children were sometimes made to fight.

   349. Schools for Gladiators. The training schools for gladiators (lūdī gladiātōriī) have been mentioned already. Cicero speaks of one at Rome during his consulship, and there were others before his time at Capua and Praeneste. Some of these were set up by wealthy nobles for the purpose of preparing their own gladiators for mūnera which they expected to give; others were the property of regular dealers in gladiators, who kept and trained them for hire. The business was at first almost as disreputable as that of the lēnōnēs (§ 139). During the Empire, however, training schools were maintained at public expense and under the direction of state officials, not only in Rome, where there were four at least of these schools, but also in other cities of Italy, where exhibitions were frequently given, and even in the provinces. The purpose of all the schools, public and private alike, was the same, to make the men trained in them as effective fighting machines as possible. The gladiators were in charge of competent training masters (lanistae); they were subject to the strictest discipline; their diet was carefully looked after, and a special food (sagīna gladiātōria) was provided for them; FIG. 225: PLAN OF A SCHOOL FOR GLADIATORS IN POMPEIIregular gymnastic exercises were prescribed, and lessons in the use of the various weapons were given by recognized experts (magistrī, doctōrēs). In their fencing bouts, wooden swords (rudēs) were used. The gladiators associated in a school were collectively called a familia.

   350. These schools had also to serve as barracks for the gladiators between engagements, that is, practically as houses of detention. It was from the school of Lentulus at Capua that Spartacus had escaped, and the Romans needed no second lesson of the sort. The general arrangement of these barracks may be understood from the ruins of one uncovered at Pompeii, though in this case the buildings had been originally planned for another purpose, and the rearrangement may not be typical in all respects. A central court, or exercise ground (Fig. 225), is surrounded by a wide colonnade, and this in turn by rows of buildings two stories in height; the general arrangement is not unlike that of the peristyle of a house (§ 202). The dimensions of the court are nearly 120 by 150 feet. The buildings are cut up into rooms, nearly all small (about twelve feet square), disconnected and opening upon the court; those in the first story are reached from the colonnade, those in the second from a gallery to which ran several stairways. These small rooms are supposed to be the sleeping rooms of the gladiators; each accommodated two persons. There are seventy-one of them (marked 7 on the plan), affording room for one hundred forty-two men. The uses of the larger rooms are purely conjectural. The entrance is supposed to have been at 3, with a room (15) for the watchman or sentinel. At 9 was an exedra, where the gladiators may have waited in full panoply for their turns in the exercise ground (1). The guard room (8) is identified by the remains of stocks, in which the refractory were fastened for punishment or safekeeping. The stocks permitted the culprits to lie only on their backs or to sit in a very uncomfortable position. At 6 was the armory or property room, if we may judge from articles found in it. Near it in the corner was a staircase leading to the gallery before the rooms of the second story. The large room (16) was the mess-room, with the kitchen (12) opening into it. The stairway (13) gave access to the rooms above kitchen and mess-room, possibly the apartments of the trainers and their helpers.

   351. Places of Exhibition. During the Republic the combats of gladiators took place sometimes at a grave or in the circus, but regularly in the Forum. FIG. 226: OUTER WALLS OF THE AMPHITHEATER AT VERONANone of these places was well adapted to the purpose, the grave least of all. The circus had seats enough, but the spīna was in the way (§ 335) and the arena too vast to give all the spectators a satisfactory view of a struggle that was confined practically to a single spot. In the Forum, on the other hand, the seats could be arranged very conveniently; they would run parallel with the sides, could be curved around the comers, and would leave free only sufficient space to afford room for the combatants. The inconvenience here was due to the fact that the seats had to be erected before each performance and removed after it, a delay to business if they were constructed carefully and a menace to life if they were put up hastily. These considerations finally led the Romans, as they had led the Campanians half a century before, to provide permanent seats for the mūnera, arranged as they had been in the Forum, but in a place where they would not interfere with public or private business. To these places for shows of gladiators came in the course of time to be exclusively applied amphitheātrum, a word which had been previously given in its general sense to any place, the circus for example, in which the seats ran all the way around, as opposed to the theater, in which the rows of seats were broken by the stage.

   352. Amphitheaters at Rome. Just when the first amphitheaters, in the special sense of the word, were erected at Rome cannot be determined with certainty. We are told that Caesar erected a wooden amphitheater in 46 B.C., but we have no detailed description of it, and no reason to think that it was anything more than a temporary structure. In the year 29 B.C., however, an amphitheater was built by Statilius Taurus, partly at least of stone, that lasted until the great conflagration in the reign of Nero (64 A.D.). Nero himself erected one of wood in the Campus. Finally, by 80 A.D., was complete the structure known at first as the amphitheātrum Flāvium, later as the Colossēum or Colisēum, which was large enough and durable enough to make forever unnecessary the erection of similar structures in the city. Remains of amphitheaters have been found in many cities throughout the Roman world. Those at Nîmes (Nemausus), and at Arles (Arelas), France, for instance, have been cleared and partly restored in modern times and are still in use, though bullfights have taken the place of the gladiatorial combats. The amphitheater at Verona, too (Fig. 226), in northern Italy, has been partly restored. “Buffalo Bill” gave exhibitions there.

FIG. 227
This shows the double stairway referred to on
page 278.

   353. The Amphitheater at Pompeii. The essential features of an amphitheater may be most easily understood from the ruins of the one at Pompeii, erected about 75 B.C., almost half a century before the first permanent structure of the sort at Rome (§ 352), and the earliest known to us from either literary or monumental sources. The exterior is shown in Figure 227 (see also Overbeck, 176-184; Mau-Kelsey, 212-226). It will be seen in Figure 228 that the arena and most of the seats lie in a great hollow excavated for the purpose, so that there was needed for the exterior a wall of hardly more than ten to thirteen feet in height. Even this wall was necessary on only two sides, as the amphitheater was built in the southeast corner of the city and its south and east sides were bounded by the city walls. The shape is elliptical; the major axis is 444 feet long, the minor 342.

FIG. 228
This shows the entrance from one underground passageway.

The arena occupies the middle space. It was encircled by thirty-five rows of seats arranged in three divisions; the lowest (īnfima or īma cavea) had five rows, the second (media cavea) twelve, and the highest (summa cavea) eighteen. A broad terrace ran around the amphitheater at the height of the topmost row of seats. Access to this terrace was given from without by the double stairway on the west, shown in Figure 227, and by single stairways next the city walls on the east and south (10 in Fig. 229). Between the terrace and the top seats was a gallery, or row of boxes, each about four feet square, probably for women. Beneath the boxes persons could pass from the terrace to the seats. The amphitheater had seating capacity for perhaps 20,000 spectators.

FIG. 229

   354. The arena is shown in Figure 228, its plan in Figure 229. It was an ellipse with axes of 228 and 121 feet. Around it ran a wall a little more than six feet high, on a level with the top of which were the lowest seats. For the protection of the spectators when wild animals were shown, a grating of iron bars was put up on the top of the arena wall. Access to the arena and to the seats of the cavea īma and the cavea media was given by the two underground passageways, (1) and (2) in Figure 229, of which 2 turns at right angles on account of the city wall on the south. From the arena ran also a third passage (5), low and narrow, leading to the porta Libitīnēnsis, through which the bodies of the dead were dragged with ropes and hooks. Near the mouths of these passages were small chambers or dens, marked 4, 4, 6, the purposes of which are not known. The floor of the arena was covered with sand, as in the circus (§ 332), but in this case to soak up the blood as well as to give a firm footing to the gladiators.

FIG. 230

   355. Of the part of this amphitheater set aside for the spectators, only the cavea īma was supported upon artificial foundations. All the other seats were constructed in sections as means were obtained for the purpose; the people in the interim found places for themselves on the sloping banks as in the early theaters (§ 325). The cavea īma was, in fact, not supplied with seats all the way around; a considerable section on the east and west sides was arranged with four low, broad ledges of stone, rising one above the other, on which the members of the city council could place the seats of honor (bisellia) to which their rank entitled them. In the middle of the section on the east the lowest ledge is made of double width for some ten feet; this was the place set apart for the giver of the games and his friends. In the cavea media and the cavea summa the seats were of stone resting on the bank of earth. It is probable that all the places in the lowest section were reserved for people of distinction, that seats in the middle section were sold to the well-to-do, and that admission was free to the less desirable seats of the highest section.

FIG. 231

   356. The Coliseum. The Flavian Amphitheater (§ 352) is the best known of all the buildings of ancient Rome, because to so large an extent it has survived to the present day. For our purpose it is not necessary to give its history or to describe its architecture; it will be sufficient to compare its essential parts with those of its modest prototype in Pompeii. The latter was built in the outskirts of the city, in a corner, in fact, of the city walls (§ 353); the Coliseum lay near the center of Rome, and was easily accessible from all directions. The interior of the Pompeian structure was reached through two passages and by three stairways only, while eighty numbered entrances made it easy for the Roman multitudes to find their appropriate places in the Coliseum. Much of the earlier amphitheater was below ground level; all the corresponding parts of the Coliseum were above street level, the walls rising to a height of nearly 160 feet. This gave opportunity for the same architectural magnificence that had distinguished the Roman theater from that of the Greeks (§ 326). The general effect is shown in Figure 231, an exterior view of the ruins as they exist today.

   357. The interior form of the Coliseum (Fig. 230) is an ellipse with axes of 620 and 513 feet; the building covers nearly six acres of ground. The arena is also an ellipse, its axes measuring 287 and 180 feet. The width of the space appropriated for the spectators is, therefore, 166 1/2 feet all around the arena. It will be noticed, too, that subterranean chambers were constructed under the whole building, including the arena. These furnished room for the regiments of gladiators, the dens of wild beasts, the machinery for the transformation scenes that Gibbon has described in the twelfth chapter of his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, and above all for the vast number of water and drainage pipes that made it possible to turn the arena into a lake at a moment’s notice and as quickly to get rid of the water. The wall that surrounded the arena was fifteen feet high; it was faced with rollers and was defended, like the one at Pompeii, by a grating or network of metal above it. The top of the wall was level with the floor of the lowest range of seats, called the podium, as in the circus (§ 337), and had room for two, or at the most three, rows of marble chairs. These were for the use of the emperor and the imperial family, the giver of the games, the magistrates, senators, Vestal Virgins, ambassadors of foreign states, and other persons of consequence.

FIG. 232
(A restoration.)
This section shows the vaulted passageways supporting the tiers of seats.

   358. The arrangement of the seats with the method of reaching them is shown in the sectional plan, Figure 232. The seats were arranged in three tiers (maeniāna, § 337), one above the other, separated by broad passageways and rising more steeply the farther they were from the arena, and were crowned by an open gallery. In the plan the podium is marked A. Twelve feet above it begins the first maeniānum (B), with fourteen rows of seats reserved for members of the equestrian order. Then came a broad praecīnctiō (§ 327) and after it the second maeniānum (C), intended for ordinary citizens. Back of this was a wall of considerable height, and above it the third maeniānum (D), supplied with rough wooden benches for the lowest classes, foreigners, slaves, and the like. The row of pillars along the front of this section made the distant view all the worse. Above this was an open gallery (E), in which women found an unwelcome place. No other seats were open to them unless they were of sufficient distinction to claim a place upon the podium. At the very top of the outside wall was a terrace (F), in which were fixed masts to support the awnings that could be spread to give protection to those sections lying in the sun. The seating capacity of the Coliseum was said to have been eighty thousand, with standing room for twenty thousand more, but Huelsen thinks that it can have provided seats for not more than forty or fifty thousand (see note 1, page 249).

FIG. 233
Roman Mosaic at Madrid.

   359. Styles of Fighting. Gladiators fought usually in pairs, man against man, but sometimes in masses (gregātim, catervātim). In early times they were actually soldiers, captives taken in war (§ 347), and so naturally fought with the weapons and equipment to which they were accustomed. When the professionally trained gladiators came in, they received the old names, and were called “Samnites,” “Thracians,” etc., according to their arms and tactics. In much later times victories over distant peoples were celebrated with combats in which the weapons and methods of war of the conquered were shown to the people of Rome; thus, after the conquest of Britain essedāriī exhibited in the arena the tactics of chariot fighting which Caesar had described several generations before in his Commentaries. It was natural enough, too, for the people to want to see different arms and different tactics tried against one another, and so the Samnite was matched against the Thracian, the heavy-armed against the light-armed. This became under the Empire the favorite style of combat. Finally, when people had tired of the regular shows, novelties were introduced that seem to us grotesque; men fought blindfold (andabatae), or armed with two swords (dimachaerī), or with the lasso (laqueātōrēs), or with a heavy net (rētiāriī). There were also battles of dwarfs and of dwarfs with women. Of these the rētiārius became immensely popular. He carried a huge net in which he tried to entangle his opponent, always a secūtor (see § 360), dispatching him with a dagger if the throw was successful. If unsuccessful he took to flight while preparing his net for another throw; or if he had lost his net, he tried to keep his opponent off with a heavy three-pronged spear (fuscina), his only weapon besides the dagger (Fig. 233).

   360. Weapons and Armor. The armor and weapons used in these combats are known from pieces found in various places, and from paintings and sculpture, but we are not always able to assign them to definite classes of gladiators. FIG. 234: A THRAEXThe oldest class of gladiators were the Samnites. They had belts, thick sleeves on the right arm (manicae), helmets with visors (shown in Figure 223, § 345), greaves on the left leg, short swords, and the long shield (scūtum). Under the Empire the name Samnite was gradually, lost, and gladiators with equivalent equipment were called hoplomachī (heavy-armed), when they were matched against the lighter-armed Thracians, and secūtōrēs, when they fought with the rētiāriī. The Thracians (Fig. 234) had much the same equipment as the Samnites; the marks of distinction were the small shield (parma) in place of the scūtum and, to make up the difference, greaves on both legs. They carried a curved sword. The Gauls were heavy-armed, but we do not know how they were distinguished from the Samnites. In later times they were called murmillōnēs, perhaps from an ornament on their helmets shaped like a fish (mormyr). The rētiāriī had no defensive armor except a leather protection for the shoulder, shown in Figure 233. Of course, the same man might appear by turns as Samnite, Thracian, etc., if he was skilled in the use of the various weapons (see the inscription in § 363).

   361. Announcements of the Shows. The games were advertised in advance by means of notices painted on the walls of public and private houses, and even on the tombstones that lined the approaches to the towns and cities. Some are worded in very general terms, announcing merely the name of the giver of the games with the date:


Others promise, in addition to the awnings, that the dust will be kept down in the arena by sprinkling. Sometimes when the troop was particularly good the names of the gladiators were announced in pairs as they would be matched together, with details as to their equipment, the school in which each had been trained, the number of his previous battles, etc. To such a notice on one of the walls in Pompeii someone added after the show the result of each combat, The following gives part only of this announcement:

MVNUS • N. . . • IV • III
     T               M
     O               T

The letters in italics before the names of the gladiators were added after the exhibition by some interested spectator, and stand for vīcit, periit, and missus (“beaten, but spared”). To such particulars as those given above, other announcements added the statement that pairs other than those men would fight each day; these were meant to excite the curiosity and interest of the people.

   362. The Fight Itself. The day before the exhibition a banquet (cēna lībera) was given to the gladiators, and they received visits from their friends and admirers. FIG. 235: VOTIVE GALERUSThe games took place in the afternoon. After the ēditor mūneris had taken his place (§ 355), the gladiators marched in procession around the arena, pausing before him to give the famous greeting: Moritūrī tē salūtant. All then retired from the arena to return in pairs, according to the published program. The show began with a series of sham combats, the prōlūsiō, with blunt weapons. When the people had had enough of this, the trumpets gave the signal for the real exhibition to begin. Those reluctant to fight were driven into the arena with whips or hot iron bars. If one of the combatants was clearly overpowered without being actually killed, he might appeal for mercy by holding up his finger to the ēditor. It was customary to refer the plea to the people, who signaled in some fashion not known to us to show that they wished it to be granted, or gesticulated pollice versō, apparently with the arm out and thumb down, as a signal for death. The gladiator to whom release (missiō) was refused received without resistance the death blow from his opponent. Combats where all must fight to the death were said to be sine missiōne, but these were forbidden by Augustus. The body of the dead man was dragged away through the porta Libitīnēnsis (§ 354), sand was sprinkled or raked over the blood, and the contests were continued until all had fought.

   363. The Rewards. Before making his first public appearance, the gladiator was technically called a tīrō. When after many victories he had proved himself to be the best of his class, or second best, in his familia, he received the title of prīmus, or secundus, pālus. When he had won his freedom, he received a wooden sword (rudis). From this the title prīma rudis and secunda rudis seem to have been given to those who were afterwards employed as training masters (doctōrēs, § 349) in the schools. The rewards given to famous gladiators by their masters and backers took the form of valuable prizes and gifts of money. These may not have been so generous as those given to the aurīgae (§ 341), but they were enough to enable them to live in luxury the rest of their lives. The class of men, however, who became professional gladiators probably found their most acceptable reward in the immediate and lasting notoriety that their strength and courage brought them. That they did not shrink from the īnfāmia that their lives entailed is shown by the fact that they did not try to hide their connection with the amphitheater. On the contrary, their gravestones record their classes and the number of their victories, and have often cut upon them their likenesses with the rudis in their hands.

P • C • ET • S • AS • D10

   364. Other Shows in the Amphitheater. Of other games that were sometimes given in the amphitheaters something has been said in connection with the circus (§ 343). The most important were the vēnātiōnēs, hunts of wild beasts. These were sometimes killed by men trained to hunt them, sometimes made to kill one another. As the amphitheater was primarily intended for the butchery of men, the vēnātiōnēs given in it gradually became fights of men against beasts. The victims were condemned criminals, some of them guilty of crimes that deserved death, some of them sentenced on trumped-up charges, some of them (among these were women and children) condemned “to the lions” for political or religious convictions. Sometimes they were supplied with weapons; sometimes they were exposed unarmed, even fettered or bound to stakes; sometimes the ingenuity of their executioners found additional torments for them by making them play the parts of the sufferers in the tragedies of mythology. The arena could be adapted, too, for the maneuvering of boats, when it had been flooded with water (§ 357). Naval battles (naumachiae) were often fought, as desperate and as bloody as some of those that have given a new turn to the history of the world. The very earliest exhibitions of this sort were given in artificial lakes, also called naumachiae. The first of these was dug by Caesar, for a single exhibition, in 46 B.C. Augustus had a permanent basin constructed in 2 B.C., measuring 1800 by 1200 feet, and four others at least were built by later emperors.

   365. The Daily Bath. To the Roman of early times the bath had stood for health and decency only. He washed his arms and legs every day, for the ordinary costume left them exposed (§ 239); he washed his body once a week. He bathed at home, using a primitive sort of wash-room; it was situated near the kitchen (§ 203) in order that the water heated on the kitchen stove might be carried into it with the least inconvenience. By the last century of the Republic all this had changed, though the steps in the change cannot now be followed. The bath had become a part of the daily life as momentous as the cēna itself, which it regularly preceded. It was taken, too, by preference, in one of the public bathing establishments which were by this time operated on a large scale in all parts of Rome, in the smaller towns of Italy, and even in the provinces. They were often built where hot or mineral springs were found. These public establishments offered all sorts of baths, plain, plunge, douche, and with massage (Turkish); in many cases they offered features borrowed from the Greek gymnasia, exercise grounds, courts for various games, reading and conversation rooms, libraries, gymnastic apparatus, everything in fact that our athletic clubs now provide for their members. The accessories had become really of more importance than the bathing itself and justify the description of the bath under the head of amusements. In places where there were no public baths, or where they were at an inconvenient distance, the wealthy fitted up bathing places in their houses, but no matter how elaborate they were, the private baths were merely a makeshift at best.

   366. Essentials for the Bath. The ruins of the public and private baths found all over the Roman world, together with an account of baths by Vitruvius, and countless allusions in literature, make very clear the general construction and arrangement of the bath, but show that the widest freedom was allowed in matters of detail. For the luxurious bath of classical times four things were thought necessary: a warm anteroom, a hot bath, a cold bath, and the rubbing and anointing with oil. All these might have been provided in one room, as all but the last are furnished in every modern bathroom, but as a matter of fact we find at least three rooms set apart for the bath in very modest private houses, and often five or six, while in the public establishments this number might be multiplied several times. In the better equipped baths were provided: (1) a room for undressing and dressing (apodytērium), usually unheated, but furnished with benches and often with compartments for the clothes; (2) the warm anteroom (tepidārium), in which the bather waited long enough for the perspiration to start, in order to guard against the danger of passing too suddenly into the high temperature of the next room (caldārium); (3) the hot room (caldārium) for the hot bath; (4) the cold room (frīgidārium) for the cold bath; (5) the room for the rubbing and anointing with oil that finished the bath (ūnctōrium), from which the bather returned into the apodytērium for his clothes.

   367. In the more modest baths space was saved by using one room for several purposes. The separate apodytērium might be dispensed with, as the bather could undress and dress in either the frīgidārium or tepidarium according to the weather; or the ūnctōrium might be dispensed with by using the tepidārium for this purpose as well as for its own. In this way the suite of five rooms might be reduced to four or three. On the other hand, private baths had sometimes an additional hot room without water (lacōnicum), used for a sweat bath, and a public bathhouse would be almost sure to have an exercise ground (palaestra) with a pool at one side (piscīna) for a cold plunge and a room adjacent (dēstrictārium) in which the sweat and dirt of exercise were scraped off with the strigilis (Fig. 238) before and after the bath. It must not be supposed that all bathers went the round of all the rooms in the order given above, though that was common enough. Some dispensed with the hot bath altogether, taking instead a sweat in the lacōnicum, or if that was lacking, in the caldārium, removing the perspiration with the strigil (strigilis), following this with a cold bath (perhaps merely a shower or douche) in the frīgidārium and the rubbing with linen cloths and anointing with oil. Young men who deserted the Campus and the Tiber (§ 317) for the palaestra and the bath would content themselves with removing the effects of their exercise with the scraper, taking a plunge in the open pool, and then a second scraping and the oil. Much would depend on the time and the tastes of individuals. Physicians, too, laid down strict rules for their patients to follow.

   368. Heating the Bath. The arrangement of the rooms, were they many or few, depended upon the method of heating. This in early times must have been by stoves placed in the rooms as needed, but by the end of the Republic the furnace had come into use, heating the rooms as well as the water with a single fire. FIG. 239: SUSPENSURAThe hot air from the furnace was not conducted into the rooms directly, as it is with us, but was made to circulate under the floors and through spaces around the walls, the temperature of the room depending upon its proximity to the furnace (§ 218). The lacōnicum, if there was one, was put directly over the furnace, next to it came the caldārium and then the tepidārium; the frīgidārium and the apodytērium, having no need of heat, were at the greatest distance from the fire and without connection with it. If there should be two sets of baths in the same building, as there sometimes were for the accommodation of men and women at the same time, the two caldāria were put on opposite sides of the furnace (see the plan: Fig. 242) and the other rooms were connected with them in the regular order; the two entrances were at the greatest distance apart. The method of conducting the air under the floors is shown in Figure 239. There were really two floors; the first was even with the top of the firepot, the second (suspēnsūra) with the top of the furnace. Between them was a space of about two feet into which the hot air passed.11 On the top of the furnace, just above the level, therefore, of the second floor, were two kettles for heating the water. One was placed well back, where the fire was not so hot, and contained water that was kept merely warm; the other was placed directly over the fire and the water in it, received from the former, was easily kept intensely hot. Near them was a third kettle containing cold water. From these three kettles the water was piped as needed to the various rooms. The arrangement will be easily understood after a study of the plans in §§ 376-378.

   369. The Caldārium. The hot-water bath was taken in the caldārium (cella caldāria), which served also as a sweat bath when there was no lacōnicum. It was a rectangular room. In the public baths its length exceeded its width; Vitruvius says the proportion should be 3:2. One end was rounded off like an apse or bay window. At the other end stood the large hot-water tank (alveus), in which the bath was taken by a number of persons at a time. The alveus was built up two steps from the floor of the room, its length equal to the width of the room and its breadth at the top not less than six feet. At the bottom it was not nearly so wide; the back sloped inward, so that the bathers could recline against it, and the front had a long broad step, for convenience of descent into it, upon which, too, the bathers sat. The water was received hot from the furnace, and was kept hot by a metal heater (testūdō), which opened into the alveus and extended beneath the floor into the hot-air chamber. Near the top of the tank was an overflow pipe, and in the bottom was an escape pipe which allowed the water to be emptied on the floor of the caldārium, to be used for scrubbing it. In the apse-like end of the room was a tank or large basin of metal (lābrum, solium), which seems to have contained cool water for the douche. In private baths the room was usually rectangular, and then the lābrum was placed in a corner. For the accommodation of those using the room for the sweat bath only, there were benches along the wall. The air in the caldārium would, of course, be very moist, while that of the lacōnicum would be perfectly dry, so that the effect would not be precisely the same.

FIG. 240

   370. The Frīgidārium and the Ūnctōrium. The frīgidārium (cella frīgidāria) contained merely the cold plunge bath, unless it was made to do duty for the apodytērium, when there would be lockers on the walls for the clothes (at least in a public bath) and benches for the slaves who watched them. FIG. 241: PLAN OF BATH AT CAERWENTPersons who found the bath too cold would resort instead to the open swimming pool in the palaestra, which would be warmed by the sun. In one of the public baths at Pompeii a cold bath seems to have been introduced into the tepidārium, for the benefit, probably, of invalids who found even the palaestra too cool for comfort. The final process, that of scraping, rubbing, and oiling, was exceedingly important. The bather was often treated twice, before the warm bath and after the cold bath; the first might be omitted, but the second never. The special room, ūnctōrium, was furnished with benches and couches. The scrapers and oils were brought by the bathers; they were usually carried along with the towels for the bath by a slave (capsārius). The bather might scrape (dēstringere) and oil (dēungere) himself, or he might receive a regular massage at the hands of a trained slave. It is probable that in the large baths expert operators could be hired but we have no direct testimony on the subject. When there was no special ūnctōrium, the tepidārium or apodytērium was made to serve instead.

   371. A Private Bathhouse. Figure 241 shows the plan of a private bath in Caerwent, Monmouthshire, England, the ruins of which were discovered in the year 1855. The bath dates from about the time of Constantine (306-333 A.D.), and, small though it is, gives a clear notion of the arrangement of the rooms. The entrance (A) leads into the frīgidārium (B), 10'6" x 6'6" in size, with a plunge (C), 10'6" x 3'3". Off B is the apodytērium (D), 10'6 x 13'3", which has the apse-like end that the caldārium ought to have. Next is the tepidārium (E), 12' x 12', which, contrary to all the rules, is the largest instead of the smallest of the four main rooms. Then comes the caldārium (F), 12' x 7'6", with its alveus (G), 6' x 3' x 2', but with no sign of its lābrum left, perhaps because the basin was too small to require any special foundation. Finally comes the rare lacōnicum (H), 8' x 4', built over one end of the furnace (I), which was in the basement room (KK). The hot air passed as indicated by the arrows, escaping through openings near the roof in the outside walls of the apodytērium. It should be noticed that there was no direct passage from the caldārium (F) to the frīgidārium (B), no special entrance to the lacōnicum (H), and that the tepidārium (E) must have served as the ūnctōrium. The dimensions of the Caerwent bath as a whole are 31 x 34 feet.

   372. The Public Baths. To the simpler bathhouse of the earlier times as well as to the bath itself was given the name balneum (balineum), used often by the dactylic poets in the plural, balnea, for metrical convenience. The more complex establishments of later times were called balneae, and to the very largest, which had features derived from the Greek gymnasia (§ 365), the name thermae was finally given. These words, however, were loosely used and often interchanged in practice. Public baths are first heard of after the Second Punic War. They increased in number rapidly; 170 at least were operated in Rome in the year 33 B.C., and later there were more than eight hundred. With equal rapidity they spread through Italy and the provinces;12 all the towns and even many villages had at least one. They were public only in the sense of being open to all citizens who could pay the modest fee demanded for their use. Free baths did not exist, except when some magistrate or public-spirited citizen or candidate for office arranged to relieve the people of the fees for a definite time by meeting the charges himself. So Agrippa in the year 33 B.C. kept open free of charge 170 establishments at Rome. The rich sometimes in their wills provided free baths for the people, but always for a limited time.

   373. Management. The first public baths were opened by individuals for speculative purposes. Others were built by wealthy men as gifts to their native towns, as such men give hospitals and libraries now; the administration was lodged with the town authorities, who kept the buildings in repair and the baths open by means of the fees collected. Other baths were built by the towns out of public funds, and others were credited to the later emperors. However they were started, the management was practically the same for all. They were leased for a definite time and for a fixed sum to a manager (conductor), who paid his expenses and made his profits out of the fees which he collected. The fee (balneāticum) was hardly more than nominal. The regular price at Rome for men seems to have been a quadrāns, quarter of a cent; the bather furnished his own towels, oil, etc., as we have seen (§ 370). Women paid more, perhaps twice as much, while children up to a certain age, unknown to us, paid nothing. Prices varied, of course, in different places. It is likely that higher prices were charged in some baths than in others in the same city, either because they were more luxuriously equipped or to make them more exclusive and fashionable than the rest, but we have no positive knowledge that this was done.

   374. Bathing Hours. The bath was regularly taken between the merīdiātiō and the cēna; the hour varied, therefore, within narrow limits in different seasons and for different classes (§ 310). In general it may be said to have been taken about the eighth hour, and at this hour all the conductōrēs were bound by their contracts to have the baths open and all things in readiness. As a matter of fact many persons preferred to bathe before the prandium (§ 302), and some, at least, of the baths in the larger places must have been open then. All were regularly kept open until sunset, but in the smaller towns, where public baths were fewer, it is probable that they were kept open later; at least the lamps found in large numbers in the Pompeian baths seem to point to evening hours. It may be taken for granted that the managers would keep the doors open as long as was profitable.

   375. Accommodations for Women. Women of respectability bathed in the public baths, as they bathe in public places now, but with women only, enjoying the opportunity to meet their friends as much as did the men. In the large cities there were separate baths devoted to their exclusive use. In the larger towns separate rooms were set apart for them in the baths intended generally for men. Such a combination bath is discussed in the next paragraph. It will be noted that the rooms intended for use of the women are smaller than those for the men. On combination baths something has been said, too, in § 368. In the very small places the bath was opened to men and women at different hours. Late in the Empire we read of men and women bathing together, but this was true only of women who had no claim to respectability at all.

   376. Thermae. In Figure 242 is shown a plan of the so-called Stabian Baths at Pompeii, which gives a correct idea of the smaller thermae and serves at the same time to illustrate the combination of baths for men and women under the same roof. In the plan the unnumbered rooms opening upon the surrounding streets were used for shops and stores independent of the baths; those opening within were for the use of the attendants or for purposes that cannot now be determined. The main entrance (1), on the south, opened upon the palaestra (2), which was inclosed on three sides by colonnades and on the west by a bowling alley (3), where large stone balls were found. Behind the bowling alley was the piscīna (6) open to the sun, with a room on either side (5, 7) for douche baths and a dēstrictārium (4) for the use of the athletes.

FIG. 242

There were two side entrances (8, 11) at the northwest, with the porter’s room (12) and manager’s office (10) within convenient reach. The room (9) at the head of the bowling alley was for the use of the players and may be compared with the similar room for the use of the gladiators marked 9 in Figure 225. Behind the office was the lātrīna, marked 14.

   377. On the east are the baths proper, the men’s to the south. There were two apodytēria (24, 25) for the men. Each had a separate waiting-room for the slaves (26, 27); (26) had a door to the street. Then come in order the frīgidārium (22), the tepidārium (23), and the caldārium (21). The tepidārium, contrary to custom, had a cold bath, as explained in § 370. The main entrance to the women’s bath was at the northeast (17), but there was also an entrance from the northwest through the long corridor (15); both opened into the apodytērium (16). This contained in one corner a cold bath, as there was no separate frīgidārium in the baths for women. Then come in the regular position the tepidārium (18) and caldārium (19). The furnace (20) was between the two caldāria, and the position of the three kettles (§ 368) which furnished the water is clearly shown. It should be noticed that there was no lacōnicum. It is possible that one of the two rooms marked 24 and 25 was used as an ūnctōrium. The ruins show that the rooms were most artistically decorated, and there can be no doubt that they were luxuriously furnished. The colonnades and the large waiting-rooms gave ample space for the lounge after the bath, with his friends and acquaintances, which the Roman prized so highly.

   378. The Baths of Diocletian. The irregularity of plan and the waste of space in the Pompeian thermae just described are due to the fact that the baths were rebuilt at various times with all sorts of alterations and additions. Nothing can be more symmetrical than the thermae of the later emperors, as a type of which is shown in Figure 243 the plan of the Baths of Diocletian, dedicated in 305 A.D. They lay in the northeastern part of the city and were the largest and, with the exception of those of Caracalla, the most magnificent of the Roman baths. The plan shows the arrangement of the main rooms, all in the line of the minor axis of the building; the uncovered piscīna (1), the apodytērium and frīgidārium (2), combined as in the women’s baths at Pompeii, the tepidārium (3), and the caldārium (4), projecting beyond the other rooms for the sake of the sunshine. The uses of the surrounding halls and courts cannot now be determined, but it is clear from the plan that nothing known to the luxury of the time was omitted. In the sixteenth century Michelangelo restored the tepidārium as the Church of S. Maria degli Angeli, one of the largest in Rome. The cloisters that he built in the east part of the building are now a museum. One of the corner domed halls of the Baths is now a church and a number of other institutions occupy the site of part of the ruins. An idea of the magnificence of the central room may be had from Figure 237, showing a restoration of the corresponding room in the Baths of Caracalla.

FIG. 243

1 There are about sixty holidays, including Sundays, annually in most of our states.

Terence appears to ridicule this convention in Andria, 490-491.

3 It has been maintained recently that wooden seats were known as early as 200 B.C.

4 Huelsen thinks these figures too high, and estimates its capacity at not more than ten thousand, the theater of Balbus as seven or eight thousand, and the theater of Marcellus as fourteen thousand, six hundred.

5 See the
footnote on page 249.

6 This theater has been restored and used for reproductions of the classical drama. It is supposed to have been erected in the reign of Marcus Aurelius (161-180 A.D.). It was allowed to fall into ruins in the fourth century A.D.

7 “Crescens, a driver of the blue syndicate, of the Moorish nation, twenty-two years of age. He won his first victory as a driver of a four-horse chariot in the consulship of Lucius Vipstanius Messalla, on the birthday of the deified Nerva, in the twenty-fourth race, with these horses: Circius, Acceptor, Delicatus, and Cotynus. From Messalla’s consulship to the birthday of the deified Claudius in the consulship of Glabrio he was sent from the barriers six hundred and eighty-six times and was victorious forty-seven times. In races between chariots with one from each syndicate, he won nineteen times; with two from each, twenty-three times; with three from each, five times. He held back purposely once, took first place at the start eight times, took it from others thirty-eight times. He won second place one hundred and thirty times, third place one hundred and eleven times. His winnings amounted to 1,558,346 sesterces [about $78,000].”

8 “On the last day of May the gladiators of the Aedile Aulus Suettius Certus will fight at Pompeii. There will also be a hunt, and awnings will be used.” Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, IV, 1189.

9 “The games of N. . . from the twelfth to the fifteenth of May. The Thracian Pugnax, of the gladiatorial school of Nero, who has fought three times, will be matched against the murmillō Murranus, of the same school and the same number of fights. The hoplomachus Cycnus, from the school of Julius Caesar, who has fought eight times, will be matched with the Thracian Atticus of the same school and of fourteen fights,” Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, IV, 2508.

10 Inscription on the tomb of a gladiator. “To the Gods Manes and the lasting memory of Hylas, a dimachaerus or essedarius of seven victories and head trainer. His wife Ermais erected this monument to her beloved husband and dedicated it, reserving the usual rights.” Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, XIII, 1997.

11 This method of heating has been revived in the construction of tbe great new cathedral in Liverpool. See The Classical Weekly, XVIII, 64.

12 See Walters. H. B., A Classical Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, under Aquae Sulis, for illustration and account of a Roman bath in Bath, England.


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