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... such as chariot racing, boxing, gladiatorial contests---borrowed from the Etruscans ... to Rome as a slave, later freed, became friend of many great men of his day ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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  • OR
  • Its all Greek to Me

The City of Rome
  • Thought to be founded in 8th Century BC
  • Agrarian assumes prominence in 3rd Century BC as
    major Mediterranean trading center
  • Good at assimilating cultural elements of other
    regions and countries
  • Contact with Greek colonies allows importing of
    Greek drama.

The City of Rome
  • Before regular drama is introduced, other
    theatrical entertainments are established, such
    as chariot racing, boxing, gladiatorial
    contests---borrowed from the Etruscans
  • _at_346 B.C.musical and dancing performances
    imported from Etruria
  • 240 B.C.--- First regular comedy and tragedy
    presented Livius Andronicus, a Greek playwright
    from southern Italy

Roman Festivals
  • Plays were performed at ludi (festivals)
  • At first, drama was only given at the ludi
    Romani,, or Roman Games
  • As number of festivals increased, so did
    occasions for presenting plays
  • Most ludi were official religious celebrations,
    but some were special occasions

Roman Festivalsby 2nd Century B.C. , plays were
given mostly at four festivals
  • Ludi Romani in September
  • Ludi Plebeii in November
  • Ludi Apollinares in July
  • Ludi Megalenses in April

Roman Festivals
  • State-financed festivals , such as religious
    celebrations, had to be perfectly carried out to
    be effective in pleasing the gods.
  • Mistakes required repetition of entire festival.

Roman Festivals
  • By 78 B.C., 48 days devoted to dramatic
    entertainments at religious festivals
  • By 354 A.D., 175 public festival days, 101 of
    which were devoted to theatrical spectacles

Roman Playwrights
  • PLAUTUS (Titus Maccius Plautus)-
    224-184 B.C.
  • Comic playwright, 21 plays extant
  • Earliest Roman playwright whose works still exist
  • Famous works Amphitryon, The Braggart Warrior,
    The Twin Meneaechmi

Roman Playwrights
  • TERENCE (Publius Terentius Afer)-
    195-159 B.C.
  • A native of North Africa, brought to Rome as a
    slave, later freed, became friend of many great
    men of his day
  • Comic playwright wrote six plays, all extant
  • Famous works The Eunuch, The Mother in Law, The

Roman Playwrights
  • SENECA (Lucius Annaeus Seneca)- 4
    B.C.- 65 A.D. Philosopher and satirist, one of
    Neros principal advisors
  • Tragic playwright nine plays extant
  • Works emphasize rhetorical oration, moral
    conclusions, violent action, magic and death
  • Not a professional dramatist

Roman Theatres
  • Similar to Greek amphitheatres in form, with the
    scaenae frons (meaning front scene, the Roman
    equivalent of the skene) attached at the ends
    to the auditorium , and a raised stage across the
    front just behind the orchestra.
  • _at_ 75 B.C. --First permanent Roman-style theatre
    is built in Pompeii.
  • First in Rome built _at_ 55 B.C.

A Roman Theatre
  • Reconstruction of Roman Theatre at Ostia

Roman Theatres
  • Built on level ground. Audience seating is fully
    constructed and part of complete building
  • Stage house becomes partially covered with a roof
    for protection and acoustics
  • Scaenae frons has at least three doors on back
    wall and at least one at each end. Two to three
    stories high, might have balconies and windows.
    Highly decorated

Roman Theatres
  • Scaenae Frons in a Roman Theatre in Syria

Roman Theatres
  • A Roman Theatre in Rhone, France

Roman Theatres
  • Free Admission
  • Non-reserved seating
  • Festival programs were lengthy
  • Audiences were unruly
  • No special scenery Roman plays often take place
    on a street because of the construction of the
  • Male actors
  • Wearing of masks and catherni
  • Creation of stock characters in Atellan farce

Roman Theatres
  • Terra Cotta figure of a comic Roman character

Roman Theatres
  • Ivory figurine of a Roman Tragic Actor, seen in
    large mask and high-soled boots (catherni)
  • Pegs on bottom of feet are to connect figurine to
    a base, now missing

Other Roman Entertainment
  • Gladiatorial contests sometimes held in the
    orchestras and on the stages of theatres
  • The circus- a round or oval stadium-like
    structure, such as the Colosseum in Rome
  • Some circuses could be flooded for sea battles

Other Roman Entertainment
  • The Colosseum in Rome is a form of circus

Decline of Roman Theatre
  • Immorality and decadence of Roman Theatre
    alienated early Christians
  • Emperor Constantine (ruled 312-337 A.D.) made
    Christianity semiofficial religion of Rome---
    pagan Roman Theatre declines
  • Performances still popular until invasion of
    northern tribes, sacking of Rome twice by 467
  • Last recorded performance, 533 A.D.

Decline of Roman Theatre
  • This Roman Theatre in Pompeii has barracks behind
    it to house the combatants in gladiatorial
    contests held here.