The Importance of Justice in the Roman Games

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The Importance of Justice in the Roman Games On top of justice is being done, we need to look at the functions of the games from the Romans’ point of view. As Thomas Wiedemann says “simply to give way to our emotions is not enough” (RB1, C11, P.101). Wiedemann wanted us to understand the ancient Romans’ beliefs and customs in watching the games. Based from my reading materials, it was not true as the Roman games were more than a medium of public entertainment. In this essay, I will look at the various aspects in which the Roman games were not only about justice, drawing on a variety of sources to support each claim. Firstly, the Romans viewed the games as a form of entertainment. These ‘games’ included gladiator fights, wild-beast displays and events in which condemned criminals and later, Christians were put to death held in the Colosseum were an integral part of the Roman culture. The amphitheatre was a cultural symbol of the politics of participation. It was an opportunity for a lively exchange between the emperor and the people. The spectators of the games had a sense of social solidarity as citizens whereas the unfortunate victims had to perform before them. These games solidified the Roman identify. Wiedemann also saw the executions as a community involvement in melting out punishments. During that time, these games are ‘associated with the public execution of criminals of low status.’ The Romans also realised that staging bloody events as entertainment would keep them used to the sights of wars and death, which were an everyday reality in the Roman Empire. Secondly, these games allowed punishments to be made visib... ... middle of paper ... ... by doing so. Wiedemann says “Gladiatorial shows and wild-beast games…made the onlookers…temporarily incapable of rational thought” (RB1, C11, P.101-102). Thus, the Romans enjoyed watching the games rather than seeing that justice was being done. After looking at several sources, we realise that the Roman games involved more than justice for the number of reasons – show of imperial strength, punishment of criminals, betting, killing of wild-beasts and most importantly, as a source of entertainment and amusement. Given the condition of those times, these games were needed the continuation of Roman power throughout the world by the emperor to enhance the glory and emphasize their patronage of all citizens. Hence, in view of the above mentioned, the Roman games were not all about justice being seen to be done.

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