Games in the Republic: Performance and Space

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


From its earliest days, Roman spectacle served a range of social and political ends; even as these shared experiences solidified group identity and channelled public emotions toward positive ends, organizers, performers, and attendees also claimed these events as opportunities to advance individual ambitions, to press for greater access to public resources, and to assert the legitimacy of various narratives about Roman identity and power. Evidence for theatrical events is of particular interest, because of the intense verbal component in these shows. Elite leaders organized spectacle space to secure preferred messaging, to spotlight elite social dominance, and to restrict popular capacity to divert such venues toward the support of other class goals. Utilizing ritual habits of group expression, however, organized sub-elites in the audience worked to seize control of dramatic scripts, redirecting the stage narrative to refocus and challenge contemporary political discourse and reclaiming architectural messaging to undermine elite intentions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook Sport and Spectacle in the Ancient World
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9780199592081
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021


  • Claque
  • Collegia
  • Intervisuality
  • Ludi scaenici
  • M. Tullius Cicero
  • Memory palace
  • P. Clodius Pulcher

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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