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SPECTACLE SUBCULTURE DISCOURSE _______________ A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of San Diego State University _______________ In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts in History _______________ by Timothy Scott Barry Summer 2013 iii Copyright © 2013 by Timothy Scott Barry All Rights Reserved iv DEDICATION AD MAIOREM DEI GLORIAM . v ABSTRACT OF THE THESIS Spectacle Subculture Discourse by Timothy Scott Barry Master of Arts in History San Diego State University, 2013 Current scholarship in ancient and late antique Roman cultural history includes a wide range of treatments of spectacle, generally focused on the centrality of public spectacle to urban Roman culture, and how spectacle functioned both as a popular entertainment and political tool. Despite this wealth of scholarship, the present historiography does not directly address in any systematic way two issues: (1) the marginal, shadowy and magical subculture created by the institution of spectacle within Roman society and (2) the negative literary discourse about that subculture in a systematic way. This work undertakes two related studies to address these gaps. The first study analyzes Roman spectacle subculture by examining the extant physical evidence of the spectacle subculture, from monumental circus buildings, to inscriptions, graffiti, circus art and remnants of magical items, with attention to chariot racing, the most enduring and popular spectacle. This section identifies characteristics and the nature of the popularity of the spectacle subculture. The second portion of this thesis interrogates the works of Roman authors and characterizes the different ways in which spectacles and the spectacle subculture were depicted by secular and ecclesiastical authors. Ancient authors’ treatments of spectacle display the ongoing negativity of the aristocratic literary discourse about spectacle. Of particular concern is the vocabulary of social class that elite authors used to denounce spectacle, and allusions to the vulgarity of spectacle entertainments, especially chariot racing. This work argues that the inherent classism of Roman society, combined with the latent threat that the popularity of the spectacle subculture posed to the social structure created the prevailing negative view of spectacles in both the Pre-Christian and Post-Christian Roman literary discourse. Further, this thesis posits that the immense popularity of spectacles, combined with the social institution of strict class division and elitism contributed to the unique place of spectacle subculture—both widely loved and harshly criticized—in ancient and late antique Roman societies. vi TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE ABSTRACT ...............................................................................................................................v LIST OF TABLES .................................................................................................................. vii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ................................................................................................... viii CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION .........................................................................................................1 2 ROMAN SPECTACLE SUBCULTURE ....................................................................10 Introduction ............................................................................................................10 Structure, Method, and Definitions........................................................................12 3 SPECTACLE DISCOURSE AND SECULAR AUTHORS .......................................44 Introduction ............................................................................................................44 Structure, Method and Definitions.........................................................................46 Early Authors .........................................................................................................49 Early Imperial Authors ..........................................................................................55 Late Antique Authors .............................................................................................65 Conclusion .............................................................................................................69 4 SPECTACLE DISCOURSE AND CHRISTIAN AUTHORS ....................................73 Introduction ............................................................................................................73 Structure, Method and Definitions.........................................................................75 Early Authors .........................................................................................................78 Late Antique Authors .............................................................................................83 Conclusion .............................................................................................................95 5 CONCLUSION ............................................................................................................98 REFERENCES ......................................................................................................................103 vii LIST OF TABLES PAGE Table.1. Magical Spells and Items ...........................................................................................30 viii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like to acknowledge and heartily thank everyone who helped me write this thesis. First I want to thank my family, my wonderful wife Kassandra for her patience and understanding during this process, and my mother and father for all of their support over the years. Next, I would like to thank my thesis committee: Professor Elizabeth Pollard, the Chairwoman of my thesis committee for her unstoppable enthusiasm about the subject matter, as well as her encouragement and expertise, Professor Mathew Kuefler for his sage advice and helpful criticism, and Dr. Brad Kirkegaard for his thoughtful insights and fresh perspective. Last, I would like to thank the United States Navy’s Bureau of Personnel, and my Commanding Officer, CAPT Thomas Shaw, USN for allowing me this opportunity to perform this research and pursue my educational goals. 1 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION The excitement from a Roman chariot race must have been immense. Imagine the scene: the twelve four-horse chariots lined up in the carceres (mechanized starting gates), horses braying, nervously anticipating the race. Eyeing each other nervously, the lightly padded charioteers, clad in leather helmets and vibrant team colors, whips in hand poised to strike, stood in their chariots, strapped to their horses. The thousands of fans, cursing and shouting, stood anxiously awaiting the start of the race, arguing over the skill of certain charioteers, and placing bets on teams. Suddenly came the start, and the gates opened, followed by a violent and grueling seven lap race with two deadly 180 degree hairpin turns at either end of the track. Public spectacles such as chariot racing in antiquity and the late antique period enjoyed a high degree of popularity; in various cities around the Roman Empire, from Constantinople to Seville, Roman emperors built or improved monumental arenas that held tens of thousands of people. Historian Thomas Wiedemann asserts that at Rome in 354 CE, one hundred seventy-six days were set aside for spectacles of various kinds, including theater and sport, based upon the Calendar of Furious Dionysius Philocalus.1 There is significant historiographical about this calendar, but it is accepted that it represents both pagan and Christian festivals at this time.2 Yet, despite the number of spectacles, not all Romans viewed sporting spectacle as favorably as emperors and the populace presumably did. Aristocratic secular authors and various writers from the Christian Church disapproved strongly of sport and spectacle, establishing and perpetuating a centuries-old negative literary discourse on spectacle. 1 2 Thomas Wiedemann, Emperors and Gladiators (New York: Routledge, 1992), Kindle ed., 12. Mary Beard, John North and Simon Price, Religions of Rome. Vol. 1, A History (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 378-82. 2 Among other smaller-venue entertainments, enormous stadiums full of ancient Roman viewers enjoyed gladiatorial bouts (munera), wild beast fights (venationes), and chariot racing (circus). Of these, chariot racing dominated in terms of popularity and longevity. In late antiquity, munera and venationes began to fade, and by the middle of the fifth century, they had essentially vanished due to new laws outlawing the practices, and a shift in sporting tastes.3 Chariot racing, although always popular, emerged as the preeminent public sporting spectacle. The literary record in the ancient Mediterranean region suggests that organized chariot racing stretched back before the days of the founding of Rome. For a sense of perspective, the epic Greek poet Homer wrote in the eighth century BCE of chariot races in the funeral games of Patroclus after the legendary Trojan War of the thirteenth century BCE.4 In Imperial Rome, and later in the Byzantine Empire, organizations called circus factiones (circus factions) managed the circus for the emperor, who was the ultimate patron of the games. These circus factions were four teams named after colors: Blue, Green, Red and White. Partisans of these factions were infamous for riotous violence and fanatical devotion to their teams. In the later empire, the circus factions may have taken on a political dimension as well. The elder Pliny (first century CE) related a story of a passionate partisan who was so distraught after the death of his chariot racing hero that he cast himself onto the man’s funeral pyre.5 This kind of deadly fanaticism was an aberration, but the passion of the circus factions consumed many young men and women in Roman cities. Beyond merely chariot racing, Roman spectacle was a wide-reaching and complicated institution that permeated various aspects of Roman culture. Ancient Roman society and culture evolved and grew over the years from the Republic to the Empire. A great many cultural items changed rather drastically from the early Republican days of Cato the Elder (third century BCE) to the Empire of Julian (fourth century CE) or even Justinian 3 David Potter, The Victor’s Crown: A History of Ancient Sport from Homer to Byzantium (New York, Oxford University Press, 2012), Kindle ed., 309. 4 Homer, The Iliad of Homer, trans. Alexander Pope, ed. Rev. Theodore Alois Buckley. (Adelaide, Australia: University of Adelaide, 2010), Kindle ed. 5 Pliny the Elder, The Natural History, trans. John Bostock (London, UK: Taylor and Francis, 1855), 7.54.27. 3 (sixth century CE). From the very naming convention of these epochs it is clear that the system of governance changed dramatically. In the Republican Era (509 to 30 BCE) the aristocratically democratic consular system was in practice, in which the Roman Senate elected the leaders who governed with the Senate and ministers and during the Imperial Era (after 30 BCE) the Emperors and their chosen ministers ruled largely independent of the complaints of the marginalized Senate. Besides style of governance, many other aspects of Roman society grew and changed over time as well. The state religion changed from the classical paganism of Vergil to Christianity. The requirements for Roman citizenship grew from tax paying, landholding men from the city of Rome and its surrounding areas and their descendants, to all free Italian born peoples, and later to all free people born within the limitates of the Roman Empire. The institution of public spectacle was not excepted from the constant of change. Gladiatorial combats or munera faded with the ascent of Christianity in the fourth century CE. Words like change, transformation and shift are often common refrains in the study of the cultural history of the Roman Empire. By the same token, some distinguishing features of Roman culture appear to have changed very little over time. Admiration for ancestors remained high from the earliest days of Rome. The earliest Roman authors to the latest were quick to laud the glorious exploits of generals like Scipio Africanus, or the valor of other warriors from a bygone era. Because of this strong affection for the glories of the past, many Roman authors can be characterized as focused on the past. Faced with a problem, a good Roman was more apt to call for ‘return to old ways’ than to prescribe innovation or creativity. As a result of this backward-facing tendency, criticism of the present day, and glorification of the past are characteristics of many Roman works. Authors from vastly different eras, as different as Cicero (first century BCE) and Cassiodorus (sixth century CE), looked at the situation of their respective times, and saw it subordinate to the glory of the past. Roman culture held tightly to other touchstones beyond a love for the past, like the institution of slavery, or a high value on military strength, a distrust of outsiders, and the Senate, just to name a few. Certainly not the least among cultural touchstones was the institution of chariot racing, and popular spectacle writ large. Spectacle was a significant institution in ancient and late antique Roman cultures. American anthropologist Clifford Geertz in his work The Interpretation of Cultures (1973) 4 wrote: “man is an animal suspended in webs of significance he himself has spun, I take culture to be those webs and the analysis of it therefore not to be an experimental science in search of law but an interpretive one in search of meaning.”6 Over the many centuries of antiquity, the Roman civilization established a unique and dynamic web of culture, and spectacle functioned as a major thread. The Roman web of culture was a dynamic thing, changing over time, but the importance of spectacle in that culture remained high. Spectacle was such a preeminent institution that it developed its own subculture, its own web of interrelated actors and participants. This subculture included the emperors who presided over the games and built the arenas, the circus factions that managed the entertainments, the charioteers who raced and gained great fame despite their low social status and shadowy magical reputations, and finally the populace, which watched and cheered. The subculture grew to be a somewhat uncontrollable and unpredictable factor in society associated with violence, from the gladiators of the Spartacus Revolt of the first century BCE to the Nika Riots of the sixth century CE. Spectacle subculture too was inundated with magic, sex, and violence. Aristocratic Roman authors criticized spectacle and its subculture on many grounds, but mostly because of its popularity and power. So large and powerful force as the spectacle subculture became that it threatened the very societal structures that aristocratic Roman authors relied upon, whether through the threat of magic, or violence. Aristocratic Roman authors looked down upon the members of the spectacle subculture, and sought to use a negative discourse to disable its power. Roman spectacle is the topic of a large swath of modern Roman cultural history. Eighteenth-century historian Edward Gibbon writes briefly about Roman spectacle in his classic work, History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Gibbon faithfully renders many spectacular games of the Roman Empire for his readers. With his characteristic editorializing style, Gibbon casts judgment upon the lack of prudence evident in such lavish games, writing about the venationes of the Western Emperor Carinus, circa 282-4 CE, 6 Clifford Geertz, The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays (New York: Basic Books Inc., 1973), 5. 5 while the populace gazed with stupid wonder on the splendid show, the naturalist might indeed observe the figure and properties of so many different species, transported from every part of the ancient world into the amphitheatre of Rome. But this accidental benefit, which science might derive from folly, is surely insufficient to justify such a wanton abuse of the public riches.7 By using the example of the spectacular games of a lackluster Western Emperor, who competed unsuccessfully with Diocletian for control of the entire Roman Empire, Gibbon sets up his argument for the ineffectual nature of Roman spectacle in a very limited manner. Later, Gibbon admits the efficacy of a mere single ludus in the entire history of Rome, and those games did not occur within the timeframe Gibbon's decline and fall. There occurs, however, a single instance in the first Punic War, in which the senate wisely connected this amusement of the multitude with the interest of the state. A considerable number of elephants, taken in the defeat of the Carthaginian army, were driven through the circus by a few slaves, armed only with blunt javelins. The useful spectacle served to impress the Roman soldier with a just contempt for those unwieldy animals; and he no longer dreaded to encounter them in the ranks of war.8 Gibbon, due to his eighteenth-century Enlightenment focus on political, religious and military matters does not consider the cultural value of the Roman spectacles.9 He, like many after him, sets the games up as an example of late Roman lavish excess, a waste of money and time that did nothing more than distract Emperors and soldiers alike from the impending problems of the impending Germanic, Hunnish and Persian armies. To the sometimes Deist Gibbon, the Roman obsession with religion and by extension religious spectacles, whether pagan or Christian, was not a vital part of the Roman psyche that helped make up the very identity of the culture for both good and bad, but rather an illogical impediment to the Roman military domination of the Mediterranean.10 Gibbon's bias against spectacle helped to create the modern perception of Roman excess and senseless spectacular entertainment. 7 Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, ed. Hans-Friedrich Mueller (New York: The Modern Library, 2003), 12.3. 8 Ibid. 9 Patricia B. Craddock, Edward Gibbon: Luminous Historian 1772-1794 (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989), x-xi. 10 David Wootton, “Narrative, Irony and Faith in Gibbon’s Decline and Fall,” History and Theory 33, no. 4 (1994): 104-5. 6 More recent historians have looked upon Roman spectacle with greater regard. J. B. Poynton’s 1938 article “The Public Games of the Romans” focuses on the types of games included in Roman spectacles. He categorizes the different types of spectacle entertainment of the Romans, from wild beast shows to gladiatorial bouts and chariot races. He attempts to determine the roots of Roman spectacle entertainments, and argues that the religion of the Romans instituted spectacles from the very beginnings of the city.11 Decades later, the modern historiography began to shift away from military and political history, and towards the type of topics that Poynton emphasizes. In the 1970s, Peter Brown and Alan Cameron brought attention to the ambiguous yet significant role that charioteers played in Roman society. Brown’s work Religion and Society in the Age of St. Augustine inserts the institution of magic into the historiographical debate. Brown argues that the charioteer represented a “détente in unity” in the Roman structure of power.12 While at the circus, the charioteer, instead of scorned and cast aside, was loved and famous. The rules that normally applied to Roman society did not always apply at the circus. The Church’s influence did not seem to enter the arena, and rowdy and offensive behavior was somewhat encouraged. Further, the charioteer was a character who embraced the illegal practice of sorcery or magic. Brown posits that there were two systems of power in ancient and late antique Rome, the articulate and inarticulate systems.13 The articulate system was the clearly recognized power of the government and the Church. The inarticulate power system existed outside of this first system, and included the sorcerer and the charioteer, two marginal characters who held great sway from time to time. Alan Cameron too writes about charioteers; however, he narrows his focus to one particular charioteer, Porphyrius the Charioteer. Porphyrius was perhaps the most famous charioteer in late antiquity, who raced and won all over the Mediterranean region in the early sixth century. Cameron details Porphyrius’ career, based on the analysis of two statue bases dedicated to him in the great hippodrome of Constantinople. Cameron also includes a 11 J. D. Poynton, “The Public Games of the Romans,” Greece and Rome 7, no. 20 (1938): 76. 12 Peter Brown, Religion and Society in the Age of St. Augustine (London: Faber and Faber, 1972), 128. 13 Ibid, 124. 7 consideration of the magical aspect of the circus, writing that all charioteers were considered associated with magic.14 With the work of Cameron and Brown, interest in the topics of chariot racing and magic grew in the historiographical debate about ancient Rome. John Humphrey’s Roman Circuses: Arenas for Chariot Racing is an exhaustive study of the archeology of monumental Roman circuses. Humphrey focuses on large circuses that were built or improved during the third and fourth century CE. He treats numerous circuses from modern day Spain to Syria. One of his main arguments asserts that these monumental circuses were closely associated with imperial palaces, suggesting a direct link between the recreational utility of the circus, and the political utility.15 Following Humphrey’s Roman Circuses is Charlotte Roeche’s Performers and Partisans at Aphrodisias. Roueche’s monograph presents and analyzes the inscriptions and graffiti in the city of Aphrodisias, in modern day Turkey. This city was not large enough to rate a full size circus, but still possessed theaters and a forum. Inscriptions and graffiti about the circus factions is present at Aphrodisias, which suggests that the factions had a much wider reach than merely the circus. Based on inscriptions in seats at the theater, Roueche argues that the construction of Roman identity was firmly tied to guild association, class and even factional loyalty.16 With the 1990s came a great deluge of scholarly work about the cultural nexus of chariot racing, spectacle and magic in late antiquity. This historiography only touches upon the works that relate most to the analysis of this essay. Thomas Weidemann’s Emperors and Gladiators does not address the issue of magic, but instead examines the issues of class and the brutality of early Roman spectacle. Erik Gunderson’s article “The Ideology of the Arena” is a postmodern treatment of the spectacle subculture of Roman society. He posits that the arena was a Foucaultian Panopticon, in which elite authors observed the ‘masses,’ as they observed the spectacles themselves.17 He goes on to analyze the construction of state ideology and the role the spectacles, particularly gladiatorial matches, played in reinforcing 14 Alan Cameron, Porphyrius the Charioteer (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1973), 245. 15 John Humphrey, Roman Circuses: Arenas for Chariot Racing (London: B. T. Batsford, 1986), 18. 16 Charlotte Roueche, Performers and Partisans at Aphrodisias in the Roman and Late Roman Periods (London: Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies, 1993), 155. 17 Erik Gunderson, “The Ideology of the Arena,” Classical Antiquity 15, no. 1 (1996): 115. 8 the ideology of the Roman state. His analysis regrettably did not include chariot racing, although the reinforcement of state ideology through spectacle is an interesting concept. Other historians have focused on spectacle, and its political utility in late Republican and early Imperial Rome. Andrew J. E. Bell’s article “Cicero and the Spectacle of Power” examines the spectacle of oratory, and the ways that Cicero explicitly attempted to use the power of the pulpit.18 Andrew Feldherr’s work Spectacle and Society in Livy’s History addresses the ways other political actors, including Cicero, used public spectacle, like chariot racing, in political ways in the early Imperial Period.19 Finally, David Potter’s Victor’s Crown: A History of Ancient Sport from Homer to Byzantium is a study in the history of sport, including chariot racing, in both ancient Greece and Rome. He, like the previous authors, does not treat magic, but instead focuses on the structure and composition of the games, and the similarities and differences with their Greek counterparts. Current scholarship has not treated the subculture of spectacle directly, nor the ancient literary discourse that addressed and helped to define this subculture. This thesis attempts to fill in those gaps. First this thesis displays the characteristics of the spectacle subculture through analysis of primary source materials: monumental circus architecture, circus inscriptions, spectacle art, and magical circus items. These materials provide a reasonable representation of the web of spectacle subculture in antiquity. Second, this thesis interrogates the works of ancient authors with respect to their depictions of spectacle in order to discern the nature of the literary discourse about spectacle and the spectacle subculture. Ancient authors were generally social elites, and the negativity of the ancient discourse about spectacle indicates a class bias. This thesis argues that the negative discourse about spectacle and spectacle subculture developed because of the class-based structure and focus of Roman society. The spectacle subculture represented the lower classes, the vulgar masses to aristocratic authors. Ancient authors were threatened by the popularity of spectacle and the 18 Andrew J. E. Bell, “Cicero and the Spectacle of Power,” The Journal of Roman Studies 87 (November 1997): 1-22. 19 1998). Andrew Feldherr, Spectacle and Society in Livy’s History (Berkeley: University of California Press, 9 inherent power of the masses, and attempted to marginalize the spectacle subculture through a persistent negative discourse. 10 CHAPTER TWO ROMAN SPECTACLE SUBCULTURE INTRODUCTION Ancient and late antique Roman chariot racing and spectacle culture existed on two levels. On the surface, the imperial government and the circus factions managed the games and races. In the capitols of Rome and Constantinople, the Emperor and his court decided when public spectacles would be held, ordered the construction of monumental hippodromes and theaters. The emperor also organized the finances for the games for the enjoyment of the masses, and the subsequent political benefit the adulation of the masses could bring an emperor. The circus factions trained the horses and charioteers, practiced race techniques, and maintained a high level of competition. Further, the circus factions organized other types of entertainers, like mimes and actors. The populous, the throngs of cheering fans in the hippodrome, attended the races and cheered for a colored faction. Some historians contend that in the later Roman empire, the circus factions may have developed a political element, like proto-political parties. In contrast, Alan Cameron posits that the factions were merely concerned with entertainment, and did not directly enter the political realm.20 He outlines—and subsequently refutes—the established historical orthodoxy of politicized factions, which he attributed to Vasilev among others, in six parts: first, the entire population of Constantinople can be organized into political demes, which are synonymous with the circus factions; second, the factions formed an urban militia; third, the Blues and Greens held opposing, polemical religious views, orthodoxy and monophysitism; fourth, the emergence of two factions reflects a natural dichotomy in political life; fifth, Blues represented the upper class, Greens the lower; sixth, the political role of the factions emerged in the late Empire.21 Cameron argues that the use of the word demes, although it 20 Alan Cameron, Circus Factions: Blues and Greens at Rome and Byzantium (London: Clarendon Press, 1976), 272-3. 21 Ibid, 2. 11 often was used to refer to the circus factions, does not necessarily refer to circus factions in all cases. Demes/demoi had a more general sense of a group or groups of people. The association of demes with the circus factions, in his reasoning, led to the retrojection of political parties upon the circus factions, a retrojection which he claims has little evidence in the historical record. Nevertheless, there must have been politically-minded fans of the factions. These political individuals lead politically-charged chants to the emperor at various times. According toa handful of late antique sources, the Nika Revolt began with factional chants to Justinian about the gross injustices of a praetorian prefect, John the Cappadocian.22 Late Roman society did not include the voices of the multitudes in the political process often, and the games were a rare instance where the common man could sometimes make his voice heard, which Cameron readily admits.23 In all, Cameron’s analysis of the apolitical circus factions seems accurate, with a caveat that political actors did sometimes use the factions to affect a political end. The primary role and operation of the factions was, as Cameron argues, oriented towards entertainment, and not a façade for political activism. Alongside this surface of simple entertainment existed a subculture of magic spells, bawdy theater performance and violence that accompanied the Roman circus. The subculture of Roman spectacle existed outside of complete government or Church control, although clergy members sermonized against the circus, and emperors designed laws to maintain a sense of order. The wild spectacle subculture occasionally became the backdrop of popular riots, especially in the later empire. Chariot racing, which emerged as the preeminent spectacle in late antiquity, and magic became closely intertwined by the late antique period. Despite secular and Christian attempts to marginalize and eliminate the spectacle subculture, both magic and the circus continued in Byzantine and Roman societies well into the early Middle Ages. 22 Geoffrey Greatrex, “The Nika Riot: A Reappraisal,” The Journal of Hellenic Studies 117 (November 1997): 68. 23 Alan Cameron, Circus Factions, 168. 12 STRUCTURE, METHOD, AND DEFINITIONS Today, evidence of the spectacle subculture survives in the form of defixiones (curse tablets), magical spell books, fragmentary magical items, monumental circuses and hippodromes, graffiti, charioteer statues, monuments and sarcophagi, as well as legal and literary depictions. By analyzing these remnants of the circus counter culture, this chapter shows the subculture’s enduring and sometimes violent nature. Many modern scholars have researched various aspects of Roman spectacle, and a robust historiography has evolved. This essay addresses the extant primary source material of the spectacle subculture and analyzes it with respect to both the relevant previously discussed historiography, and the Roman literary convention of a negative spectacle discourse. First, the monumental circuses and hippodromes of the ancient Mediterranean region are presented and analyzed. John Humphrey’s Roman Circuses Arenas for Chariot Racing and Phillip Crummy’s article “The Roman Circus at Colchester” provide the bulk of the archeological evidence and analysis. This essay does not challenge either work on an archeological basis, but rather presents portions of Humphrey’s and Crummy’s findings in order to display points about Roman spectacle and the subculture it created. The large size and wide geographical spread of the monumental circuses is an indicator of the widespread popularity of spectacle, but even more specifically of chariot racing. The oblong shape of the center area of these structures indicates their purpose was chariot racing. Smaller theaters and coliseums are not included in this consideration because of their relatively small size compared to the circuses. Theaters and coliseums were the location of public spectacles, to be sure, but the not very largest spectacles. The analysis of circuses gives an impression of the spread of the largest public spectacles, not the moderately sized spectacles found in theaters. Next, the materials found within the circuses are examined. Selections of circus inscriptions, circus graffiti and circus-themed art from Charlotte Rouche’s Performers and Partisans and Alan Cameron’s Porphyrius the Charioteer as well as other articles provide the bulk of the evidence. These works include representations of the primary sources themselves—the inscriptions, graffiti or art pictured in Rouche and Cameron’s monographs—as well as analysis. The primary sources give a glimpse into the world of the spectacle subculture, and are presented as they shed light upon the characteristics of the spectacle subculture and the negative discourse of Roman authors. Thus, the analysis in this 13 essay differs from the analysis offered by previous historians. Where the arguments of previous historians are employed, due credit is given. Last, the sources that lay beneath the circus are presented. Magic spellbooks, curse tablets, fragments of magical amulets and other magic items are analyzed. These valuable pieces of primary source evidence come from the John Gager’s Curse Tablets and Binding Spells from the Ancient World, Hans Dieter Betz’ The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation, Including the Demotic Spells, and Marvin Meyer and Richard Smith’s Ancient Christian Magic: Coptic Texts of Ritual Power. These works, like Roueche and Cameron’s works above, present the primary sources in translated form, and offer analysis separately. The magic items that these works display provide a clear picture of the wide breadth of the magic subculture in antiquity. From this large group of evidence, a substantial portion relates directly to chariot racing, which is included in this essay. While it is true that Roman spectacle included more than merely chariot racing—theater, gladiatorial combats, wild beast hunts, and mock naval battles are among the most immediate examples—no other competative spectacle includes the significant number of magical remnants that chariot racing does. Florent Heintz’ dissertation “Agonistic Magic in Late Antiquity” treats all competatively-themed magic directly, and includes theater magic. This essay considers chariot magic, offensive or defensive, in order to display the characteristics of the grand spectacle subculture. Theater and rhetorical magic belongs in a subtly different category, due to the smaller crowds and fewer extant magical items that theater magic produced. III. Source Material and Analysis Both the circus and magic existed outside the realm of polite society, but were popular and powerful. The case of the Emperor Justinian and Empress Theodora offers a useful example of the power of the circus, the changing cultural dynamics of late antiquity and the perceived influence of magic and circus counter culture. Sixth-century historian Procopius linked both Justinian and Theodora to demonic magic, possibly because of their humble origins and interest in the circus. Justinian came to power in the mid sixth century, assuming the role of full Emperor after his uncle and adopted father, Emperor Justin I died. Both Justin and Justinian came from the same humble farming family in the Roman town of Tauresium, in modern day Macedonia. Justin achieved great success as a military leader. He had adopted Justinian, and brought the young man to Constantinople, where Justin enjoyed 14 prestige as the Count of the Excubitors, the commander of a palace regiment. After the death of Emperor Anastasius, Justin became Emperor thanks to his strong following among the influential Byzantine military, despite his old age and reputed illiteracy.24 Justin appointed Justinian to high government posts, and named him as his successor. Theodora, like Justinian, also came from a humble background. She grew up in the capitol of Constantinople, where her father was a bear keeper for the Green faction of charioteers. Later, after her father’s death, Theodora’s family lost its employment with the Green faction, became destitute and eventually landed with the performers of the Blue faction.25 As a young girl, Theodora was an actress, a lowly class of citizen associated with sexualized shows and prostitution. In addition to their low social class, unrepentant actresses could not receive sacraments in the Church or marry esteemed men of Senatorial rank, only serve as courtesans. Although the details of Theodora’s early life are not entirely clear, historians know that Theodora later married Justinian, but only after Justinian convinced the Emperor Justin to promulgate a law that explicitly allowed former actresses to marry men of senatorial rank.26 The two low born circus fans married and soon ascended to the highest seat of imperial power. Some aristocratic Byzantines resented Emperor Justinian’s power and low birth. Procopius of Caesarea, Justinian’s court historian and author of Justinian’s official panegyric, gave the resentment a voice, and wrote scathingly about the emperor and empress. Procopius’ work is troublesome to modern historians because of the unpublished Anecdota, or Secret History, that he wrote unbeknownst to Emperor Justinian. In many ways, this work is at loggerheads with the panegyric to Justinian, Buildings. As such, Procopius’ work raises the question of an author’s true opinions, behind the façade of his literary contribution. Did Procopius love Justinian and marvel at his building campaign as Buildings might suggest, or did Procopius truly despise the man? On one hand, he praised Emperor Justinian in 24 Robert Browning, Justinian and Theodora (London: Thames and Hudson, 1987), 21. 25 James Allen Evans, The Empress Theodora: Partner of Justinian (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2002), 13-5. 26 Browning, 41. 15 Buildings, while on the other hand he wrote that Justinian was the “King of Demons” because of his alleged connection with demons and the occult.27 Twentieth-century historian Averil Cameron wrote Procopius and the Sixth Century in order to address some aspects of this debate. She writes: “Most often it [the debate over Procopius] has been resolved by the simple means of taking the more obviously classicising Wars as basic (and preferable), and then somehow explaining away the notorious Secret History and the unpalatable Buildings."28 Cameron wishes to put Procopius in a cultural context as an elite member of the 6th Century Byzantine Empire, and to define his Secret History as a kind of satire that he intended for his fellow elites, imitating ancient Roman literary tropes, insulting the low born Emperor and his wife. Whether or not Procopius’ vitriolic attacks have merit is not of particular consequence for this thesis. The Secret History is an important work for modern historians to understand both the private thoughts of an elite sixth century Roman such as Procopius, and the ways in which an elite author verbally attacked an emperor, most notably by association with magic and circus-obsession. This specific mode of verbal attack is symptomatic of a larger negative discourse on the circus and spectacle (below). A large part of Procopius’ invective included accusations of magic and demon possession. About Theodora he wrote: “For from her earliest years she had herself consorted with magicians and sorcerers, as her whole way of life led her in that direction, and to the very end she put her trust in these arts and made them at all times the ground of her confidence.”29 Procopius offers no direct evidence, but as an actress for the Blue faction, Theodora came from the circus subculture, and her association with magic would have been unquestioned in the minds of Procopius’ readers. The circus was full of occult influences and magic, and Theodora was part of that culture as a child—“her whole way of life led her in that direction.” She may never have used magic herself, or may have cast aside magic when she renounced her former life, before her marriage to Justinian, but there can be little doubt 27 Procopius, The Secret History, trans. G. A. Williamson (New York: Penguin Books, 1966), 104. 28 Averil Cameron, Procopius and the Sixth Century (London: Duckworth, 1985), 3. 29 Procopius, 151. 16 that she would have been aware of circus magic given her upbringing. Whether or not Procopius’ accusation of Empress Theodora’s use of magic was factual, he exemplified the prejudices of his fellow aristocrats by using Theodora the actress’ presumed association with magic against her. Procopius went further, charging that Emperor Justinian was possessed by demons sent by Theodora, another allusion to magic and the subculture of the circus. Procopius wrote: “it is not so much by cajolery that she got Justinian under her thumb as by the compelling power of the demons.”30 In late antique magic, sorcerers and their customers often sought to rouse daimones to bind and control the subjects of their spells (below). To Procopius, Theodora’s past meant that she used magic, and that she used magic meant that she controlled her husband through demons. Procopius expected nothing less than vulgar magic and demonic possession from circus fans and actresses. Modern historians suggest that Procopius may have believed in the efficacy of sorcery as well. Historians Averil Cameron and Glanville Downey write about Procopius’ accusations of demonic magic against Justinian and Theodora. Downey posits that Procopius, like most Christians in Syria, would have believed in magic, while Cameron asserts the seriousness of Procopius’ claims about demon possession.31 Demons and demon possession were a common trope of Christian writing during late antiquity. Christian writers from Augustine to Isidore of Seville associated the circus and its factions with demon cults (below). Cameron reminds the modern reader that the depiction of Justinian and Theodora as associated with demons was a legitimate claim in late antiquity. Downey’s argument about Procopius’ widespread Christian belief in magic is more difficult to prove, although Christian magic rituals offering protection from demons do survive from late antiquity. In any case, many circus fans, whether Christian or not, did believe strongly in demons and in a very real battle between offensive and protective magic. Procopius’ use of this imagery to slander Justinian and Theodora displayed first an aristocratic prejudice against circus fans and the 30 31 Procopius, 151. Glanville Downey, “Paganism and Christianity in Procopius,” Church History 18, no. 2 (1949): 101; Averil Cameron, Procopius and the Sixth Century, 59. 17 spectacle subculture, and second a subtle acknowledgement of the power and pervasiveness of magic. Justinian and Theodora reigned in a time when the popularity of circus spectacles was extremely high. At this time, spectacles were primarily an urban phenomenon. Late Roman circuses and hippodromes were often near the center of the major cities. This city planning characteristic was due in part to the political role that circuses played. Political life in Roman cities was centralized. It was centered on a sole authority, the emperor or his appointed governor in a province. Spectacles and games were a powerful tool used by emperors and other political actors to maintain or establish popular support, and for that reason, circuses and imperial palaces were often very near to each other. In many instances, the common man would see the emperor at only chariot races, and other spectacles held at the circus. Archeologist John H. Humphrey notes colocation of circuses and imperial residences in his 1986 work, Roman Circuses. His focus is Roman circuses built in the fourth and fifth century. Although he stops short of claiming that all circuses are necessarily linked to an imperial capital or to work on an adjacent palace, it is clear from his research that often enough, an emperor was often the driving force behind major circus construction, and had an interest in associating the monumental circus with his palace. 32 Humphries' examples include circuses in some of the largest and most influential Mediterranean cities of antiquity: Ravenna, Antioch, the Circus of Maxentius on the Via Appia, Trier, Tarragona, Toledo, Carthage, Milan, Aquileia, Thessaloniki, among many more. Most were built, or underwent major upgrades in the fourth century, and Humphries claims in most cases that this circus construction was directly related to the residence of an emperor, or an imperial governor. He wrote regarding these circuses, “Indeed, these circuses can properly be viewed as an essential part of the palace architecture. They were linked physically with the imperial residences in a way which is not true of any earlier circuses except for the circus at the Sessorian.”33 The logic behind collocating the palace and the circus was simple: the Emperor's desire to gather large numbers of his subjects, to glorify himself, and secure the stability of his public 32 Humphrey, 581. 33 Ibid, 580 18 support. Humphrey wrote: "Once an emperor came to be identified with one particular city as his chief residence, then he needed a suitable setting for court ceremonial and a public context in which to appear before his subjects--and for that, a circus was best."34 Thus, the political nature of spectacle is also displayed. Emperors desired to maintain popular support, and were willing to spend large sums to build grand monumental circuses. These buildings were large and intimidating to the populace, were intended ostensibly for chariot racing spectacle, and were adjacent to their official residences. Although other events like coronations or religious ceremonies would attract crowds, chariot racing spectacles were the primary motivating forces that gathered the subjects together for the Emperor.35 In a tradition from the early empire, the common people would petition the Emperor during the circus games, which adds depth to the character of the spectacle subculture. Not only did an emperor hold fantastic games for the masses, but also he heard and acknowledged their cries during these very spectacles. Thus, the emperor partially legitimized the spectacle subculture, interacting with the vulgar crowd. There are examples throughout the Roman Empire of the people interacting with the Emperor during circus spectacles. Pliny recorded that Trajan granted requests during gladiatorial games.36 There are examples in later Roman sources as well, such as Justinian II’s dialogue with the factions during chariot races in 568 CE.37 The very design of circuses and hippodromes changed over time to better suit the needs of the emperor and his provincial governors. In the late Eastern Roman Empire, in places like Greece, Asia Minor, Eastern Mediterranean, and Egypt, a different style of athletic spectacle grew than in the Western Empire. The Hellenistic style was less rigidly organized and included more equestrian events than merely chariot racing. Humphrey wrote: “Chariot racing in the eastern provinces differed in several important respects from the sport in the west. This inevitably affected the buildings, the hippodromes (to use the Greek word) 34 Ibid, 633. 35 Alan Cameron, Circus Factions, 158. 36 Pliny the Younger, Letters, and Panegyricus, trans. Betty Radice (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1969), 33.2-3. 37 Theophanes the Confessor, The Chronicle of Theophanes the Confessor, trans. Cyril Mango and Roger Scott (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997), 358. 19 which housed the sport.”38 The most observable difference in hippodrome construction between the Hellenistic and Roman style is the presence of a barrier in the center of the racing area. Roman style architecture included the barrier, while Hellenistic did not. The eastern Roman provinces that eventually became the Byzantine Empire had a wholly different and distinct sporting tradition from the western provinces. The classical Greek Olympics are an example of this. Chariot racing, as well as other forms of equestrian competition were present in the east long before the Roman conquest, although these events did not have the same subculture and political implications. Charioting in the west was more deliberately organized and executed than in the east. The influence of the emperor, and the circus factions demanded a more precise execution of the games. In the Hellenistic tradition, the games had a folksier atmosphere than the Imperial and politically charged Roman tradition, wrought with circus factions and bloody conflict, and the architecture reflects this difference. Humphrey wrote: “For the Roman circus was a highly uniform and structured arena, with lanes, white lines, starting gates, barrier, arena of fairly constant length and width and doubtless its own very precise rules governing behavior.”39 Eventually, around the fourth century, the Roman tradition of monumental circuses and uniformity of sport became the norm in the east, although to a lesser extent in Greece itself, where the Roman style of monumental circus architecture never appeared, with the exception of a monumental hippodrome in the Roman style in Thessaloniki.40 In late antiquity, during the time of the Eastern Roman Empire, chariot racing in the east gained a special popularity, and uniformity of practice. According to Humphrey, the architecture of circuses in the west is all strikingly similar, and on a larger scale than most contemporary eastern architecture. The monumental circus in modern day Colchester, Essex contradicts this trend. At Colchester, archeologist Phillip Crummy reports that the circus is notably thinner than most others, 71.4m compared to the 140m of the Circus Maximus, including circuses in the east.41 Colchester is unique 38 Humphrey, 438. 39 Ibid, 440. 40 Ibid, 441. 41 Phillip Crummy, “The Roman Circus at Colchester,” Brittania 39 (2008): 27. 20 because of its small size, and eight starting gates. All other extant circuses have been found with ten or twelve starting gates. Crummy does not find this smaller size surprising, because of the circus at Colchester’s early foundation date and short life. He places the origins of the circus in the first century CE, and the gradual demolition of the circus in the middle third century. Although this contradicts Humphrey’s assertion that chariot racing never took hold in Great Britain, it does not challenge Humphrey’s main arguments.42 Humphrey’s analysis is based upon circuses built or improved upon during the third and fourth century. According to Crummy, because Colchester was not a provincial capital, it simply did not make the cut to receive imperial funds for improvement. 43 The smaller size of Colchester’s circus then provides further support for the argument that Roman emperors and imperial governors required immense monumental circuses to impress and intimidate the people. Where there was little political motivation for circuses, such as at Colchester, there was little interest in sustaining a circus. The emperor would not gain enough political capitol in small-market circuses. Circuses beginning in the third century were exclusively on a large scale. This had the effect of centralizing the circus industry and also circus fans. The size of the circuses from that time suggests that the circus subculture then existed mostly around the major cities. Further, spectacle subculture maintained a political current in addition to its rowdy and magical tendencies, thanks to the influence of the ultimate financier of the games, the imperial government. Within the enormous circuses of the later Roman Empire, circus inscriptions and monumental art were instruments of expression for both the establishing authorities of the games, and the fans of the games. Charlotte Roueche’s works, Performers and Partisans, and Aphrodisias in Late Antiquity, document archeological evidence from the ancient city of Aphrodisias. According to Humphrey, there is no conclusive evidence of a monumental hippodrome at Aphrodisias, although traditional, smaller-scale Greek style horse racing may have been practiced.44 Still, there were theaters and other smaller venues for public spectacle. 42 Humphrey, 437. 43 Crummy, 30. 44 Humphrey, 527. 21 In these venues, official and unofficial inscriptions display some characteristics of the spectacle subculture. The traditional Roman factions, especially Blue and Green, are present in inscriptions. Three such inscriptions from the bases of marble pillars in the southern agora are acclamations to the factions: “i. The fortune of the ?Greens triumphs! ii. Up with the fortune of the city! iii. The fortune of the ?Blues triumphs!”45 These inscriptions are indications of a spectacle subculture that expanded beyond simple chariot racing. In the later empire, performers like a young Empress Theodora and her bear-keeping father, associated with one faction or another. Even though Aphrodisias may not have held chariot races, the spectacle subculture of the chariot factions spread to the city in the form of other entertainers. These inscriptions may refer to Green Faction entertainers, who competed for prizes against Blue Faction entertainers. Other unofficial inscriptions, or graffiti, display the inappropriate, rowdy and sexualized behavior of members of the spectacle subculture. In one inscription, a decorative phallus symbol was etched upon the seat in the theater, with the words “The seat of Eros.”46 Formal inscriptions depict assigned seating in the theater for numerous classes of citizens, from curial class elites, to butchers guilds and young men. Roueche argues that this emphasis on social class even in a theatrical setting reinforced the Roman sense of identity.47 A butcher, for instance, would not have considered himself a member of the vulgar populous; rather, he would have considered himself a butcher, a member of a trade guild of some prestige. Rouche’s work focuses on Aphrodisias, which did not have a monumental circus, but her conclusions about the public character of individual Roman identity as it was demonstrated in public seating arrangements has wider implications. Socially stratified assigned seating at public spectacles was not merely a phenomenon at Aphrodisias. Larger cities followed the same conventions. 45 Charlotte Roueche, Aphrodisias in Late Antiquity: The Late Roman and Byzantine Inscriptions, rev. 2nd ed. (London: Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies, 2004), 183. The question mark indicates Roueche’s estimation of the intended translated word in the inscription, because a shorthand was used in the original— similar to referring to the San Diego Padres as the ‘Pads. 46 Roueche, Performers and Partisans, 107. 47 Ibid, 149-55. 22 Monumental art in the forms of statuary and mosaic was prominent in Roman circuses as well. Charioteers were commonly depicted in statuary, and their racing exploits recorded in epigrams. This must have been an ironic scene for some chariot racing fans. Charioteers, a group of people who existed on the shadowy margins of society, and who were sometimes slaves, were immortalized in statuary, just like an emperor or general. Charioteers were generally grouped with other performers, gladiators, mimes, actors, and gymnasts, and relegated to the lowest rungs of society. Tacitus related with great relief how Vitellian reversed Nero’s course of allowing high class Romans from entering the arena as gladiators, and outlawed the practice.48 Thus, social convention and even imperial pronouncements forbade Romans from participating in popular entertainments, maintaining the low social status of entertainers. Still, some charioteers and other performers did sometimes become wealthy, and even achieve some level of social status. Porphyrius was one example of this exceptional charioteer. Alan Cameron’s work Porphyrius the Charioteer relates the life of this exceptional figure in sixth-century chariot racing, using primarily the monumental bases of statues dedicated to Porphyrius in Constantinople as primary sources. These statues were both displayed in the center of the monumental hippodrome at Constantinople, on the spina, adjacent to obelisks of conquest and statuary devoted to emperors. Regrettably, the statues that adorned the top of the bases have been lost, but the bases themselves provide a wealth of information about Porphyrius, and the curious and somewhat ambiguous place successful charioteers may have held in late antique society. The very fact that these bases and the corresponding statues existed at all indicates a rise in the status of some performers. Cameron writes that “the career of Porphyrius marked a new peak in the fame and material rewards of charioteers--a fame that is less index of the skill of the charioteers than of the growing importance of the hippodrome in Byzantine life--and of the increasing rivalry of the circus factions.”49 With the ascent of the monumental circuses and hippodromes in later Roman and early Byzantine life, came the ascent of spectacle subculture. Porphyrius was depicted in 48 Tacitus, Tacitus: The Histories, trans. W. Hamilton Fyfe (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1912), Kindle ed., 49 Alan Cameron, Porphyrius the Charioteer, 3. 2.62. 23 reliefs on the bases of his statues, and the artistic conventions of those depictions are strikingly similar to depictions of Emperor Theodosius, whose statue sat next to Porphyrius’ on the spina.50 Late Roman coinage even depicted chariot racing. In the early Empire, the god Sol, or Helios, was depicted riding a chariot. This hearkened to the Roman pagan religion that associated the sun god with chariots and speed. Races were only held during the day, and Sol was an appropriate god to invoke for these races. Cameron relates that later Roman emperors, starting with Caracella in the third century had themselves depicted driving chariots, in the style of Sol, on coinage.51 While chariot racing and spectacle remained popular in the imperial period, its association with magic and sorcery remained prevalent. Magical items are treated on their own below, but magic and chariot racing were directly associated in circus art as well. Cameron writes “Was it not obvious that in order to keep winning as he did charioteer X must himself be using magic? Thus it came to be generally believed that the charioteer not only consulted magicians but was one himself.”52 The evidence suggests that successful charioteers were not all considered magicians themselves, but were perhaps closely associated with magicians (below). The association of magic and the circus greatly contributed to the uncertain, ambiguous and even bipolar place of chariot racing and spectacle in Roman culture. Charioteers were loved wildly by circus fans, but despised by elite authors. In some ways, the association with magic was always present with charioteers. It must have seemed somewhat unnatural that such a lowly person as a slave or freedman charioteer could ascend to such heights of fame and wealth. The association was made clear by elite writers who heaped scorn upon charioteers and the circus in general, but also in a more subtle way in art. Artistic representations of charioteers survive today in the forms of textiles, mosaic and sarcophagi. In the Aachen-Cluny textile, there are medallions with circus motifs. In one medallion, represented in Porphyrius, a charioteer is clearly being helped along by smaller men floating 50 Ibid, 16. 51 Ibid, 19. 52 Ibid, 245. 24 above the horses, possibly daimones or spirits of the untimely dead which sorcerers invoked (below). In addition, the charioteer seems to be wearing something on his arms, at about the wrist. This could be a subtle reference to a magical amulet that charioteers were known to wear (below).53 Certainly, not all artistic depictions of charioteers included allusions to magic, but because magic was perceived to be so pervasive in chariot racing, a close examination of many chariot-themed pieces can yield suspicious finds. The act of resorting to magic was a reality of the Roman circus. Some circus fans, as well as charioteers themselves, hired professional magicians to cast magical curses and protection spells that cried to pagan gods and other spirits for assistance in clear defiance of Roman law. A law from the Codex Theodosius dating from the fourth century, and later repeated in the sixth-century Justinian Code, recorded outlawed circus magic in no uncertain terms. If anyone should hear of a person who is contaminated with the pollution of magic, or if he should apprehend or seize such a person, he shall drag him out immediately before the public and shall show the enemy of the common safety to the eyes of the courts. But if any charioteers or anyone of any other class of men should attempt to contravene this edict or should destroy by clandestine punishment a person, even though he is clearly guilty of the evil art of magic, he shall not escape the extreme penalty, since he is subject to a double suspicion; namely, that he has secretly removed a public criminal from the severity of the law and from due investigation, in order that said criminal might not expose his associates in crime, or that perhaps he killed his own enemy by a more atrocious plan under the pretense of avenging this crime.54 The legal record clearly asserted that charioteers are a suspect “class of men” when it came to magic. In a clever way, the law anticipated vigilantism, and the use of counter-magic by charioteers, and declared such action grounds for “double suspicion.” Charioteers were thus characterized as chronic magic users in the eyes of Roman law, but not specifically as magicians themselves. With this law, and characterization of charioteers as a “class of citizen,” Roman jurisprudence all but admitted the existence of a magic-saturated circus subculture, based on the prevalence of magic and counter-magic between charioteers via 53 54 Ibid, 26. Clyde Pharr. The Theodosian Code: and Novels and the Sirmondian Constitutions (Princeton: Princeton Unviersity Press, 1952), 9.16.11. 25 their magicians. Further, the Roman legal system seemed to acknowledge the problem the circus subculture posed to its rightful Christian authority. However, the state was unwilling to go so far as to condemn the circus as a whole, preferring instead to attempt to legislate around the edge, to change the established magic-entrenched culture. Charioteers were drawn to use of magic and other ritual strategies because of the dangers associated with their profession, and cultural pressures associated with the spectacle subculture. As charioteers, they were outside the accepted sphere of the Church, and so they could not turn to the legitimate clergy for protection. Instead, many charioteers decided to engage in sorcery because it was readily available, and offered some degree of spiritual protection in an otherwise unprotected and dangerous situation. In an article that considers the place of charioteers within Roman society in the third century, Parshia Lee-Stecum goes on to point out that charioteers were singled out in this very law as a “class of citizen” who were prone to disobey this kind of edict against magic. She observes the sexualized way in which charioteers were presented in art and suggests that charioteers relished their dangerous, marginal social status. 55 Charioteers were indeed marginal figures who did incite strong emotions from contemporary observers. Many, as Lee-Stecum asserts, surely died young as a consequence of their risky profession. Lee-Stecum argues convincingly that charioteers suffered, rightly or wrongly, terrible reputations in late antiquity. Many were freedmen or slaves, and nearly all were associated with the practice of magic and with violence. In the sixth century, an Italian public minister Cassiodorus, ghost writing for King Theoderic, wrote that successful charioteers were often accused of magic, and were honored by such an accusation: “From the frequency of his triumphs, he [Thomas the charioteer, the subject of the letter] was called a sorcerer - and among charioteers it is seen as a great honour to attain to such accusations. For, when victory cannot be attributed to the quality of the horses, it is inevitably ascribed to magical cheating.”56 Here, Cassiodorus implied that to a charioteer, the only honor was victory, and 55 Parshia Lee-Stecum, “Dangerous Reputations: Charioteers and Magic in Fourth-Century Rome,” Greece and Rome 53, no. 2 (2006): 227. 56 Cassiodorus, The Variae of Magnus Aurelius Cassiodorus Senator, trans. S. J. B. Barnish (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1992), 3.51.2. 26 that any means to that end was honorable. Certainly, Cassiodorus was not a charioteer, and could not speak for the group, but his unique position as a public official who sought to gain popularity and legitimacy from the circus, he attempted to flatter charioteers in an offensive way, as though to be accused of cheating were actually an honor. Whether the charioteer actually practiced magic or not, the public perception of charioteers was one of suspicion on two fronts: first, their low official status and disproportionate popularity, and second, the legal assumption that most charioteers did use magic of one form or another. Some charioteers took advantage of this perception by accusing innocent individuals of magic for money, because in the late antique Roman mind, few knew magicians better than the charioteers. The presumed association with sorcerers further lowered the reputation of the charioteer’s profession.57 Other modern historians as well depict the low status of charioteers and their presumed association with magic in late antiquity. Peter Brown offers a characterization of the charioteer as a man who lived in a world that was filled with both offensive and defensive magic.58 Brown posits that chariot races and factional rivalries represented a relaxation of the traditional Church-based power structure in towns. Further, he asserts that the charioteer assumed a number of roles in society, including “client of local aristocracies, and the leader of organized groups of lower-class fans—and so, at times, a potential figure-head in urban rioting.”59 Charioteers then, as semi-magical, shadowy and violent figures in late antique society, developed a unique identity. In the highly structured class organization of Roman society, they lived on the margins and their social status was difficult to pinpoint; it depended on their level of fame and success. Simultaneously the leaders of one facet of society, the poor, charioteers were distrusted and disparaged by the rich, some of whom in turn paid their salaries, and benefitted politically from the popularity of the circus. In addition, the charioteer, who led groups of lower class citizens, performed during a period of relaxation of the Church’s authority. Taken together, 57 Lee-Stecum, 233-4. 58 Brown, Religion and Society, 128. 59 Ibid, 129. 27 the charioteer could represent a character who offered lower class citizens a relief from the traditional Christian Church dominated power structure, and thus operated on the margins of society. Magic, like charioteers, existed on the margins of society, and its position was difficult to pinpoint, although from the mass of legal, literary and physical evidence, it seems as though it was widespread. Beyond the consideration of the charioteer’s place in society, Brown argues that the place of magic within a society is between two clashing systems of power. The first is the articulate system, the established order, governments and churches, and the second is the inarticulate power system. He characterizes this second system as “the disturbing intangibles of social life; the imponderable advantages of certain groups; personal skills that succeed in a way that is unacceptable or difficult to understand.”60 In this interpretation, the magician existed in the shadows of society, at the edge of simple reason, where reason and established religion clashed with the unknown. Magic could thus be blamed or thanked for any number of realities beyond the capability of the articulate power structure to explain. Chariot racing was just such an unexplainable social phenomenon at the edge of acceptable society. Why did a horse suddenly run faster? Why did another slowly? Certainly the horses offered no rationale, and the charioteers did not rely on the organized religion. They were excluded from the Church, and they generally trusted magic. This thesis’ argument of a spectacle subculture aligns with Brown’s description of the locus of sorcery and charioteers on the margins of society in some ways. Brown’s conception of the inarticulate power structure posits that it extends to other areas of ancient and late antique Roman society where articulate power structures cannot suffice, places where sorcerers had substantial influence like the mysteries of romantic love or justice for the wronged. Similarly, the spectacle subculture, which included magic as a component, existed beneath the accepted society, and was denigrated and perpetuated through an aristocratic literary discourse. Finally, Brown argues that the changing society of late antiquity coincides with the rise of sorcery accusations. Late antique society changed very rapidly in a number of ways, 60 Ibid, 124. 28 religiously from pagan to Christian, politically from a handful of emperors to only one in the east, militarily to a system of power that recognized many kings around the Mediterranean, and geographically from Rome to Constantinople. In this confusion, sorcery and accusations of sorcery flourished.61 Returning to Lee-Stecum, she goes beyond Brown’s analysis, and argues that magic itself includes an element of social power, writing that magic “rather than an objective category or identifiable set of practices, is a signifier expressive of anxiety about social boundaries and the struggle for social power.”62 She claims that charioteers’ willingness to exploit their bad reputations for money demonstrates one example of the struggle for social power evident in the circus. Building upon the work of Brown, Florent Heintz writes in the dissertation “Agonistic Magic in the Late Antique Circus” about the professional nature of the magic trade in late antiquity. He argues that the occult market was an established, professional place with many similar aspects to contemporary legitimate Mediterranean marketplaces.63 His work catalogues much of the extant Late Roman magical material, much of the same material this essay includes. Heintz’ analysis centers upon the concept of ritual complexity and sophistication, in a convincing argument for a professional magic marketplace. This thesis expounds upon Heintz’ work, and argues that the professional magical marketplace was part of a larger spectacle subculture. That the magical marketplace had accepted standards and norms provides evidence to the existence of a spectacle subculture. Instead of a magical market flooded with disparate hacks who bore no connection to one another, Heintz argues that the magical community had a strong professional character. He writes: “Agonistic magic in the circus had to be the work of an expert, of someone who had gone through years of training and could be trusted to provide reliable service.”64 An up-and-coming magician had to apprentice under more an experienced magician in order to earn his keep. Further, an apprentice magician had much to learn, given the complexity and depth of the extant spell books. 61 Ibid, 122-3. 62 Lee-Stecum, 226. 63 Florent Heintz, Agonistic Magic in the Late Antique (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999), 12. 64 Ibid, 11. 29 Heintz offers examples of magical apprenticeships recorded in Ammianus Marcellinus’ history, including a Roman senator’s son, and a charioteer’s son as well.65 The apprenticeship program displayed that magicians comprised a small community of professionals. This community, although it operated outside of the law, held to a set of common beliefs based in the magical art, and a set of norms, based on the types of spells available. Magicians in the marketplace offered curses and defenses for charioteers, and other spells for other clients. These spells, chariot-centric or otherwise, held distinct similarities. As will be shown later in the chapter, a curse tablet from one corner of the Empire bore a resemblance to a curse tablet from another corner. This too suggests a community of magical knowledge and exchange, a subculture of magic. Charioteers and fans relied on many types of magic to achieve victory at the races. Individual charioteers and fans did not merely utter a few magic words themselves—although they probably did this as well—but instead hired professional sorcerers to cover the wide array of offensive and defensive and divining spells necessary for ensuring victory. Professional magicians had more customers than just chariot factions, from spurned lovers seeking revenge to victims of crimes seeking justice, but the circus did provide a substantial market for the magicians.66 In Table 1 there are thirty three examples of chariot related magic spells, amulets, defixiones (curse tablets), and other charms extant today. It is by no means an exhaustive list, but it provides concrete examples of the types of magic used by magicians for the charioteers and their fans. Magic relating to other entertainments, like rhetoric or performance, is not included in the data set, simply because such magic is incongruous to circus magic with regard to objectives. The spectacle subculture did indeed include spells for other types of entertainers, however, these spells are far fewer and do not fall into the same categories as chariot spells. Three modern compendiums of ancient and late antique magic were used to compile the magic included in the table: John Gager’s Curse Tablets and Binding Spells from the Ancient World, Hans Dieter Betz’ The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation, Including the 65 Ibid, 13. 66 Ibid, 11. 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Line Item Gager 12 Gager 11 Gager 10 Gager 9 Gager 7 Gager 6 Gager 5 Name 1 to 3 Late Roman 3rd CE not listed 3 to 4 5 to 6 2 to 3 Date Carthage North Africa Carthage Carthage Egypt/Palestine Apamea, Syria Beirut, Syria Location Table.1. Magical Spells and Items Offensive Offencive Offensive Offensive Defensive Offensive Offensive Offensive/ Defensive enacted defix enacted defix enacted defix enacted defix unenacted defix enacted defix enacted defix Enacted/ Recipe untimely dead, "great names" untimely dead, various voces mysticae untimely dead, various voces mysticae spirit of the untimely dead, Salbathbal and other names Jewish Charakteres, prematurely dead souls, Hephaestus, Topos, Zablas "holy angels" and others, possibly Egyptian and Jewish Deities Referenced moderate, binding of horses, "twisting of soul and heart so they cannot breate" high, binding and death of horses moderate, binding of sinews of racers and horses high, binding and hobbling of horses, zero moderate--wishes violent scenes to distract racers, and destruction by Topos and Zablas moderate--drawing of a bound human attacked by a bird. Level of Violence high, invocation to strange gods and burial in a grave. Also includes charakteres in the margins moderate, invocation to strange gods and burial in a grave. moderate, invocation to many deities and a specific race date moderate, invocation to strange gods and burial in a grave. moderate, invokes angels to spur horses to great speed moderate, invocations to many deities and the use of charakteres Low, copyist erred in writing the title of the spell on the top of the defixion Level of Ritual Expertise (table continues) Buried in the pagan cemetary of Carthage, very small writing, names the charioteer Victoricus of the Blue faction and his horses as the subject Spirit of the untimely dead, and a short exhortation to hobble and kill the horses Spirit of the untimely dead at the beginning, followed by a very long list of deities referenced and a short list of binding activities 75 lines of decreasing length invoking gods and the spirit of the untimely dead to bind horses and drivers of Red and Blue. part of a small spell book similar to PGM III ln15-30, invoking angels to aid horses a series of familiar charakteres invoking deities to bind Blue faction horses Small def. refers to deities and angels to bind specific horses of the blue faction. Description 30 12 11 10 9 8 Line Item PGM IV ln 21452240 PGM III ln 1164 Gager 15 Gager 14 Gager 13 Name 4th C 4th C unk late 4th late 4th Date Table 1. Continued unk (Paris) unk (Louvre) Rome Rome Rome Location Offensive or Defensive Offensive Offensive Offensive Offensive/ Defensive Offensive spell recipe for consecrati ng an iron lamella spell recipe enacted defix enacted defix Enacted/ Recipe enacted defix Homeric verse, gods of the underworld, Aion, Ra, Pan, all supernatural powers Helios, "cat faced god," angels, Hermes, Hekate, Entrapper, Mother of all men, Iaeo, Thortoei, holy king, the sailor, Seth, Satis, Iao, Abaoth, Adoni, Michael, Souriel, Gabriel, Raphael, Abrasax, Iaiol, Chabra, Nethmomae, Orokothothro, Sesengenbarpharagges holy angels, holy names, untimely dead charakteres, Eulamon, Osiris, untimely dead Egyptian dieties, Osiris, Mnevis, Apis, Ra, as well as Christian allusions to "holy angels," untimely dead Deities Referenced high, requires medium sized animal sacrifice and other rituals moderate, asks deities to make Artemios of the blue faction headless, footless and powerless high, uses many verbs to define what the deities ought to do to the Blue faction, kill, shatter, destroy, etc high, the spell does not ask for violence, per se, but it does require the sacrifice of a cat high, requests the binding and death of Cardelus within five days. Level of Violence high, animal sacrifice and then another ritual for chariots high. Animal sacrifice, many deities, and a long spell moderate, no drawings, and a strange collection of letters in the beginning, but found in an urn moderate, includes drawings and names of various deities. Also found in a sarcophogus. high, although there are errors; every other letter is upside down, signifying the twisting and binding of Cardelus. Level of Ritual Expertise (table continues) this is a spell for consecrating an iron lamella (killing a cock, and offering food) that can then be used for many purposes including chariot racing This is the beginning of a spell book, and is a spell for chariot racing, or many other malicious intents that requires an animal sacrifice and very complex ritual. this is one tablet in a collection of 56 tablets found in a sarcophogus along the Via Appia near Rome. The readable ones are all chariot themed, and come from slaves and freedmen. It includes drawing of a horseman bound by a snake A small tablet found in the same collection as 13; this one includes drawings of a horse, bird people actively binding someone and a severed head. a small tablet found in an urn with the ashes of a dead person, with drawings and letters arrainged in columns Description 31 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 Line Item PGM XXVII ln 1-5 PGM VII ln 101726 PGM VII ln 919-39 PGM VII ln 429-58 PGM VII ln 417-22 PGM VII ln 390404 PGM VII ln 186-90 Name 5th C same same same same same 3 to 4 Date Table 1. Continued unk (Oxford) same same same same same unk (London) Location Defensive Defensive Defensive offensive offensive Defensive defensive Offensive/ Defensive enacted victory charm recipe for victory recipe for victory spell recipe for restraint spell recipe for a victory at the races spell recipe for restraint spell recipe for a victory charm Enacted/ Recipe Charakteres Helio, Gabrief, Gaphael, Michael, the univers, Sabaoth, Iao, Ablanathanalba, Akrammachamarei Hermes, charakters Osiris, Osiris-Mnevis, Isis charakteres, mighty gods charakteres none listed Deities Referenced no violence no violence no violence low, general restraint low, general restraint no violence moderate, involves small animal sacrifice Level of Violence low, an invocation for victory moderate, an invocation to Helios using the names of many different deities low, creation of a lamella with charakters low, creating a lamella and throwing it in the river low, throwing a tin lamella into the river low, inscription on a horse's hoof moderate, small animal sacrifice and short prayers Level of Ritual Expertise (table continues) short invocation to victory using charakteres short invocation to Helios for victory short spell for Hermes victory charm--charakters on a tablet a more complicated version of the previous, requires the sorcerer to make a tin lamella, and throw it into a river with a spell a spell for restraining, requires throwing a tin lamella with charakteres into the river this spell is for a good luck inscription on a horse's hoof. this is a spell for a small good luck charm, the leg of a blood eating gecko Description 32 Line Item 29 28 26 25 24 23 22 21 20 Meyer 22 PGM XCII ln 1-16 Meyer 20 PGM LXX ln 1-4 6th CE 6th CE 3rd CE 3 to 4 2nd C same same 4th C 5th c PGM XXXV ln 1-42 PGM XXXVI ln 1-34 PGM XXXVI ln 16187 PGM XXXVI ln 21130 PGM LXIX ln 1-3 Date Name Table 1. Continued unk (Cairo) unk (Vienna) unk (Dublin) unk (MI) unk (MI) same same unk (Oslo) unk (Florence) Location Defensive Defensive Defensive Defensive Defensive defensive defensive Offensive Defensive Offensive/ Defensive prayer recipe enacted amulet recipe for victory or to dissolve a spell recipe for favor recipe for strength recipe for victory recipe for success recipe for restraint enacted victory charm Enacted/ Recipe Christ, the lord, Yao, Sabao, Brinthao. The gospels, god of Israel, angels, the lord Kypis, Adonios AA Emptokom Basym Io Abrasax Helios angels, Chphyris, Raphael, Ioel Typhon, Erbeth, Seth God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Adonai, Iao, Sabaoth, Bythath, Marmar, Raphael, Souriel, Iphiaph, Pitiel, Mouriatha, Telze, Edanoth, Saesechel, Tabiym, Bimadam, Chadraoun, Chadrallou Deities Referenced no violence no violence no violence no violence no violence no violence no vioence no violence no violence Level of Violence low moderate, creation of an amulet and prayers low low low low low moderate, requires making a lamella, and a drawing moderate, drawings, invocations to many deities Level of Ritual Expertise (table continues) exhortation to the God of Israel for protection against unclean spirits, but no direct link to spectacle. prayer to Christ and other deities for protection from evil spirits, but no direct link to spectacle. a prayer for vicotry, repute and beauty a prayer to a strange deity a prayer for strength a short invocation to Helios for victory a short charm for success, requires an invocation to various deities a restraint spell including a lamella, and a sizable drawing a spell invoking many dieties for victory, including drawings of men's faces Description 33 Totals 33 32 31 30 Line Item Meyer 116 Meyer 111 Meyer 36 Meyer 23 Name 1st to 6th centuri es CE unk unk 4th CE Date Table 1. Continued Mediteraenean unk (Berlin) unk (Berlin) unk (Prague) unk (PGM 2.223-24) Location 13 offensive, 19 defensive, one either offensive Offensive Defensive Defensive Offensive/ Defensive 21 Recipes, 12 Enacted prayer recipe prayer recipe prayer recipe prayer recipe Enacted/Recipe Christian, Jewish, Egyptian influences, charakteres also the untimely dead Michael, Elouch, Belouch and Barbarouch Sourochchata God Almighty, Jesus Christ, Archangels, Yao Sabaoth Adonaie, God of Abraham, all the saints angels, archangels, Christ Deities Referenced 14 Moderate to high level of violence, 19 low to no violence moderate, dissolve the sinews and ligaments and joints of an enemy low, give power to the ritualist, and take it from the enemy no violence moderate, the blood of Christ Level of Violence 15 low RE, 17 moderate to high low low low low Level of Ritual Expertise prayer to Archangel Michael and others for strength and domination over the enemy. No direct link to spectacle. various prayer to Sourochchata to incapapcitate an enemy, but no direct link to spectacle. prayer to protect from evil, but no direct link to spectacle prayer to angels, archangels and Christ to protect against "headless powers," the very same headless powers invoked in earlier pagan magic. Description 34 35 demonic Spells and Marvin W. Meyer and Richard Smith’s Ancient Christian Magic: Coptic Texts of Ritual Power.67 The table organizes the spells according to the source in which they can be found, and assigns a line number (LI#) to each magical item for ease of reference. It then lists the estimated century and location of origin when that information is provided in the modern source. Further information is my own analysis: whether the magical item is offensive or defensive, enacted or a recipe, the deities referenced, the level of violence, level of ritual expertise, and a short description of the magical item. Not all of the items in the table had a direct, unquestionable link to chariot racing. The Gnostic Christian magic rituals from Meyer’s work (line items 28-33) for instance, at no point directly referenced chariot racing, like most of the non-Christian spells (LI1-27) did. The so-called “Christian” spells involve both defensive and offensive magic that invoked Judeo-Christian angels, among other spirits, to protect the subject from demons, and to dominate enemies. Although the spells lack a direct reference to chariot racing, these spells have been included in the data set because they were general enough that they could have been used by charioteers, and they share many similarities with the previous chariot specific spells, such as a desire for “victory” or protection from evil spirits. The style of invocation in all the Christian spells, the reference to “headless powers” in LI30, the desire for success and good luck in LI31, the “dissolving of sinews” and “restraining” in offensive spells LI32 and LI33 are all similar to the non-Christian spells. All of these Christian spells could have been used by charioteers, but absent direct references to the circus direct association with the circus subculture cannot be conclusive. The dates of origin for the thirty three chariot-related magic spells range from the first to the sixth centuries CE. Discounting the six gnostic Christian spells (LI28-33), the timespan remains the same. Even for a historian of Roman antiquity, this is a large expanse of time. This wide chasm between the temporal beginning and endpoints of the primary source data set suggests the considerable staying power of magic, chariot racing and the desire to win 67 John Gager, ed., Curse Tablets and Binding Spells from the Ancient World (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992); Marvin Meyer and Richard Smith eds., Ancient Christian Magic: Coptic Texts of Ritual Power (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1994); Hans Dieter Betz, ed., The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation, Including the Demotic Spells (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986). 36 chariot races at any cost. The oldest piece of evidence in this set was a curse tablet found in Roman North Africa, estimated between the first and third centuries CE (LI7). Curse tablets were small metal sheets, inscribed with magical words, charakteres (or magical non-alphabetical symbols) and drawings, which were folded and bound with a nail or spike, and deposited in a magically powerful place.68 These places were often the graves of the “untimely dead,” those who died a violent death, or various places around the chariot racing track. The untimely dead would have certainly been other deceased charioteers. Because of their dangerous occupation, charioteers perished younger than the average. LeeStecum estimates that the average charioteer would not live past thirty years old.69 This earliest chariot-themed curse tablet (LI7) was found in a Roman cemetery. It was an exhortation to bind opponents of the Blue faction, and included invocations to the “untimely dead,” and the use of charakteres around the border of the metal sheet. The most recent magic item in the data set was found in modern day Syria, dated to the late fifth to early sixth century CE, approximately three hundred years after the oldest piece of evidence from North Africa. This dating makes the Syrian piece contemporary with the gnostic Christian magical items as well. The Syrian magical item (LI2) was a curse tablet, with charakteres around the border, and invoked the spirits of the “untimely dead” to bind the racers of the Blue faction. Clearly, both the most recent and oldest item in the data set shared many similarities. The two even shared two charakteres. This shows the high level of continuity of chariot racing counter culture across centuries and across the Mediterranean. Magic and chariot racing were strongly entrenched institutions in late antique society. Magical items were not all so similar, but certain common conventions, like the use of charakteres, binding enemies, and the invocation to the spirits of the “untimely dead” established norms for the subculture. Both these curse tablets were offensive spells, meant to bind and restrain the opposing faction. Defensive spells were prominent as well. The data set is split at approximately 60% defensive spells and 40% offensive spells—thirteen offensive and nineteen defensive. This statistic may demonstrate merely the small sample size included in the extant spells, however, this uneven split may show a more 68 Gager, v. 69 Lee-Stecum, 225 n1. 37 defensive oriented magical marketplace. Some offensive spells, like the curse tablets, were small and therefore difficult to recover centuries later. Still, a 20% difference in spell type holds some significance. There are a couple of possibilities for this. Defensive spells could have been a good insurance policy, so to speak, for charioteers who knew that their lives were in danger the moment they entered the arena. To a charioteer who knew that his competitors might be using offensive magic, what was the harm in defensive magic? A charioteer might not have wanted to use offensive magic for any number of reasons, not wanting to injure or kill another charioteer, or perhaps potential high cost of offensive magic due to higher ritual complexity. Defensive magic may have offered a cheaper and more humane option for charioteers who wanted to invoke the aid of magical powers. Something as simple as a magical amulet or evil eye may have been enough to ward of the offensive magic of a less scrupulous charioteer. By the same token, defensive spells only outnumbered offensive spells by six, or about 20%. Offensive spells must have been in fairly regular use as well. Curse tablets and binding spells comprise the majority of the offensive spells. Binding spells were very common in late antique magic, beyond the circus as well. They must have been a staple of any professional magician’s toolkit. Magicians invoked spirits to bind their customers’ enemies, thus preventing them from performing an action. This was especially common in love magic, where magicians bound rival lovers to open opportunities for their customers. Circus binding spells typically named both charioteer and the horses as the subjects. The spells often specifically mentioned body parts—sinews, legs, eyes, etc.— for the spirit to bind. The gnostic Christian magic too had an offensive, binding element. LI32 is an undated Christian spell for dissolving the “dissolving the sinews and the ligaments and the joints” of an enemy.70 It is considered “Christian” because of the angels that it invokes to do the work of the spell. This shows the wide reach of binding spells, even into the sphere of Christian magic. Defensive spells sought to ward off the effects of binding, or other aggressive magic. The defensive spells also often asked for spiritual assistance in achieving victory. They also used many of the same charakteres as offensive spells, which again suggests consistent, 70 Meyer and Smith, 224. 38 underlying subculture to the circus. Defensive magic often involved a ritual blessing of small items, like amulets, or other lucky charms to ward off evil. The charioteer would then wear the charm, or place it on one of the horses. LI14, for instance, required the magician to carve charakteres onto the lead horse’s hoof. Heintz argues that all circus magic was pointed at the same aim, victory, and then he classifies all magic items into four categories: performanceenchancing, aggressive, protective and revelatory.71 This chapter simplifies this classification into offensive and defensive categories. Spells that Heintz calls performance-enhancing or revelatory fall generally into the defensive category in this analysis, and the rationale is this: although racing does not have clear offensive or defensive sides like football or baseball. Defensive, performance-enhancing and revelatory magic all sought to improve the prospects of victory for the client himself, and can be contrasted effectively with offensive magic which sought to diminish the chances of victory of another racer, regardless of the outcome for the client. Thus, self-directed magic is termed defensive, and other-directed magic is termed offensive for the purposes of this thesis. Many defensive spells survive today because they were enacted and written in amulets, but others exist on papyri. Twelve of the thirty three spells included in the table were enacted, and others were recipes for magicians to follow, found in spell books. The enacted spells are comprised of curse tablets and amulets, inscribed with prayers and charakteres. These amulets and curse tablets physically survive, and archeologists are able to note the location in which they have been found. Often, archeologists discover curse tablets and amulets in graveyards, or at the former location of a Roman circus. To the practitioners of magic, these locations held magical qualities that sorcerers sought to tap. Unfortunately, because the physical amulets or curse tablets stand alone as archeological evidence, a historian cannot be entirely certain what ritual was involved in the creation of each item. Spell recipes on papyri survive to inform the modern scholar, but it is difficult to generalize from a few very specific spells. Each magician may have had his own particular way of creating a curse tablet, or blessing an amulet. Papyri survive mostly in fragments, and they vary greatly in their complexity. These spell recipes vary widely in their level of ritual expertise required to perform the spell. Three 71 Heintz, 2-3. 39 spells from the previous table involved some variety of animal sacrifice, which required a significantly higher level of ritual expertise and cost than a short victory prayer. The spells that required animal sacrifice are LI11, LI12 and LI13, all dated from the third to fourth centuries CE. The animals listed for sacrifice were a cat in LI11, a cock in LI12, and a small lizard in LI13. All of these animals were small and somewhat common, but the magician had to possess a great knowledge of the ritual in order to perform the sacrifice properly. LI11 contained 164 lines of instruction regarding the intricacies of the sacrifice and subsequent curse. It was no doubt a difficult spell for a magician to perform. Heintz, in his interpretation of the “cat ritual”(LI11), calls the spell “undoubtedly the longest and most sophisticated binding spell formulary ever to survive from Late Antiquity. Its succession of elaborate rituals, sacrifices and libations, its length magical formulas and convoluted invocations to various deities make it clear that only a trained and experienced practitioner of the magic arts would have been able to perform adequately all the phases of the ritual.”72 The cat ritual was a general spell that could be used to place a curse on any number of subjects, including charioteers and their horses. It took days to perform, and represents the height of circus magic sophistication. Other spells, like LI25, were short, and may not have required a professional magician. LI25 was a small scrap of papyrus from the third to fourth century CE, with four short lines of a prayer to an obscure deity, AA Emptokom Basym (Anglicized from Greek original by Heintz), for victory and dissolving offensive spells. Its brief, straightforward style is a far cry from the complexity of the cat sacrifice. Just as levels of ritual expertise varied greatly among these spells of the circus, so too did the names of deities invoked. Sorcerers did not always address their prayers to pagan gods or obscure deities; instead they often offered prayers to the spirits of the untimely dead. Gager characterizes these spirits as “the spirit or soul of dead persons, especially of those who had died prematurely or by violence, roamed about in restless and vengeful mood near their buried body.”73 Considering the danger and violence of the circus, these untimely dead could often have been other charioteers. Sorcerers invoked these spirits, most often in curse tablets, by 72 Heintz, 162. 73 Gager, 12. 40 planting the lead tablet in the ground at the burial site of the vengeful spirit’s body. Thus, magicians and charioteers were willing to desecrate graves, hoping to anger the spirits enough to gain an edge in chariot races. That this practice of grave desecration was so common around the Mediterranean points to another cultural identifier in the circus subculture. Besides the unsettled spirits of the dead, magicians invoked pagan, Egyptian, Hebrew and other obscure deities. Gager lists the deities most commonly associated with the curse tablets, and Hermes is the most common. Helios, the god of the sun, was a common patron in circus magic. Other deities and influences come from all over the Mediterraenean, from Egypt to Persia. Writing specifically about curse tablets, Gager also includes a consideration of daimones (demons) with secret names, and voces mysticae (magical names) that were a blend of different elements of foreign deities. These obscure and secret deities often combined with charakteres in the spells listed on the previous table, especially LI11 and LI20 which both list over ten deities apiece, and gave a sense of a magician casting a wide magical net in order to achieve the aim of the spell. In all, Gager asserts the power of local influence on the choices of deities that magicians made.74 While the local influence upon magic is undeniable—no magician could possibly invoke a deity which he did not know existed—the commonalities among the spells, like the recurrence of invocations to Helios and to the power of the spirits of the untimely dead, do suggest an accepted baseline of circus magical subculture around the Roman world. Another commonality to that culture was the high level of violence associated with circus magic. Roman chariot racing was itself a violent and dangerous spectacle. The standard Roman circus race was between quadriga (four horse chariots) and lasted seven laps, with two dangerous 180 degree turns at either end of the course. Charioteers were physically strapped to their horses, and steered the chariots with their weight. In the event of a crash, they carried a knife to attempt to cut themselves free from being dragged to their death.75 Although it is impossible to know exactly how often, chariots crashed, and racers 74 75 Ibid, 12-3. Alison Futrel, The Roman Games: A Sourcebook (Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2006), Kindle ed., 188. 41 were thrown from the chariot, trampled, killed, and the crowd carried on. Alison Futrel suggests that the crashes may have been the most exciting part of the circus, as they were depicted in nearly every literary circus tale.76 Considering the violence of race itself, it may have been only fitting, then, that circus magic used violent and aggressive language in its spells. Roman magic in general tended to use violent language to arouse the spirits and the gods, and spectacle magic was certainly no different. In the previous table, fourteen of the spells are characterized as moderate to high levels of violence. This is primarily due to the type of evocative, violent language used in the spells. LI6, a curse tablet from North Africa, called upon the spirit of the untimely dead to hobble and kill the horses of the opposition. The magician inscribed upon the tablet, “Let him perish and fall, just as you lie here prematurely dead.”77 Other spells utilized violent language as well, and sought to hobble horses, kill charioteers and generally bind the opposition. As previously mentioned, animal sacrifice was included in three of the extent spells. Christian magic too had a violent aspect. LI30 used the violent, evocative image of the blood of Christ to dissipate the influence of headless powers. LI32 sought to paralyze an enemy by dissolving his joints and sinews. Meyer, in his introduction to the chapter on curses, reminds the reader that although violent curses may offend the modern notion of proper Christian religion, there was a long precedent for ritual cursing in the Mediterranean world, including the tradition of waking the spirits of the untimely dead.78 The community of professional magic had established norms for magic long before the later Roman empire. They developed over centuries of pagan and occult practice. In the circus subculture of ancient and late antique Rome, that community of professional magic merely found a niche in which to operate and survive. VI. Conclusion: Many modern scholars characterize late antiquity as a time of great social change. Europe and the Mediterranean region slowly Christianized, while the traditional aristocracy of the Roman Empire experienced military and social challenges to its rule. Within this 76 Ibid, 191. 77 Gager, 64-5. 78 Meyer and Smith, 183-4. 42 changing culture, chariot racing and popular spectacle persisted as popular and visceral connections to the glorious Roman past. Along with the popular spectacle, a vibrant spectacle subculture of magic and shady entertainment persisted as well. Sixth-century Emperor Justinian and his wife Theodora represent this changing social landscape and interest in the circus well. As these two commonly-born Romans ascended to the heights of imperial power in Constantinople, detractors accused them of association with circus magic because of Theodora’s past as an actress for the Blue circus faction, and Justinian’s keen interest in the circus. Along with interest in the circus among the people, historian Peter Brown notes an increase in accusations of sorcery in the context of an unstable and changing world of late antiquity, peaking with Justinian’s reign.79 The extant physical evidence of mass popular spectacle and the spectacle subculture displayed in this chapter show the underbelly of the Roman arena. The monumental circuses that stretched from Colchester to Alexandria housed thousands of fans, and held numerous spectacles. The imperial government had a strong interest in maintaining these spectacles, due to the political benefits reaped from gaining the adulation of the populous. The centralized financing of the circus, although unable to be determined with great specificity because of the lack of sources, suggests an empire that needed spectacle, and knew it needed spectacle. The proximity of circuses to the imperial palaces displays the emperors’ desire for the people to link the government with spectacle. The firm control of the Blue and Green factions over many facets of entertainment, from chariot racing to theater shows the centralization of the ancient entertainment industry, and the wide swath of the evidence suggests that the Blues and Greens were doing a good job keeping the populous entertained; Aphrodisias, a city with no circus, was littered with graffiti about the factions. Many pieces of Roman circus and spectacle art survive today, in the form of statuary and more commonly, mosaics. This art shows how the people of the time viewed the circus. Porphyrius, in the great hippodrome of Constantinople was presented in statuary, next to the Emperor Theodosius. Some later emperors, Constantine for example, were displayed driving chariots on the back of coinage. Mosaic and textile representations of the circus and other spectacles display the stars of the spectacles in glorious terms. These glorious representations 79 Brown, Religion and Society, 122. 43 show the ambiguous and complicated role that the charioteers’ (or other performers) fame played in Roman culture. Actors, performers, gladiators and charioteers were some of the lowest and most downtrodden members of society, but the fame of the circus, and the love of the crowd seemed to transcend that class barrier, if only for a moment. Circus magic, presented in modern texts, further complicates the social role of the charioteer or other performer. Historians John Gager, Parshia Lee-Stecum and Florent Heintz develop a narrative of professional yet illegal circus magic, and the shadowy, magical reputations of charioteers. The spells and the popularity of the circus show the limits of the government and the Church’s influence in the lives of its members. Non-Christian pagan allusions, like prayers to Helios the sun god and deified charioteer, in the spells show how the pagan traditions were slow to change. Circus magic was an institution, as much as the imperial spectacle. Magicians were well trained, well paid and an integral part of the chariot race. They represented a secondary source of power, an illegal yet attractive way to circumvent the normal laws of society and improve one’s position. They existed outside of the government’s control, outside of Church control, and close to the circus. The subculture of spectacle included illegal magic, as well as violence, rioting, and sexualized entertainment. At the vanguard of this subculture was the charioteer; the charioteer was a marginal character in ancient and late antique Rome. Charioteers were inevitably linked to magic, and lived dangerously. For a moment upon the track they were loved, but off the track they were viewed with suspicion and even fear. 44 CHAPTER THREE SPECTACLE DISCOURSE AND SECULAR AUTHORS INTRODUCTION Beyond the chariot race itself, and the shadowy subculture previously discussed, a persistent discourse existed in Roman literary culture about the games and their popularity. Many elite Roman authors—and most extant Roman authors were among the social elite— approved of neither chariot racing, nor its subculture, nor its wild popularity. Certainly there were authors who do not fit this generalization, but throughout the Roman literary tradition, negative opinions of popular spectacle, chariot racing and its fans became a type of literary trope, nearly as common as praise of bygone generals, and the recollection of glories of Rome’s past. Roman authors disapproved of chariot racing and the spectacle that followed mostly because of the latent aristocratic class bias of the authors. Ancient Rome was a deeply classridden culture, with the plebian and patrician classes stretching back to the earliest days. Class and status were prime considerations for a Roman author. Averil Cameron writes: “Late Roman society was a society in which the gradations of dignity were ordained by law, highly prized and jealously preserved.” 80 Even if a particular writer did not directly address the class structure of society in his works, it was a lens through which Romans saw the world. The Edict of Caracalla in the early third century, which opened Roman citizenship up to many more inhabitants of the Roman Empire, helped to create a late Roman society that emphasized legal class distinctions even more greatly than before. The traditional structure of power in both Republican and Imperial Rome centered on an aristocracy of wealthy men, and the wealthiest and most powerful were the Senatorial class. From this pinnacle of status, there were various other class levels underneath that 80 103. Averil Cameron, The Later Roman Empire: AD 284-430 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1993), 45 changed over time. Class distinctions were nothing new to Roman society. Early Roman society was divided between plebeians and patricians. Livy relates the traditional view that the classes were established by Romulus during the founding of the city.81 Jean-Claude Richard posits that as early as the fifth century BCE the patrician class was clearly consolidating its power, and the beginnings of the class go back even further than that. Richard argues that the plebian class is more difficult to date, because of the nature of the historical sources.82 Although formal class stratification changed over time as the Roman Republic grew into the Roman Empire, Roman society remained stratified, with clear distinctions between upper and lower class persons. Spectacle and its attendant subculture both reinforced class distinctions through the strict seating arrangements and negative literary discourse about spectacle, and challenged those same class distinctions, via the inherent power of the gathered masses, and potential for social mobility among charioteers. Roman spectacle, especially chariot racing, developed a subculture that was outside of the normal power structure of society. This subculture included veritable outcasts: slaves who raced chariots, “immoral” actors and actresses, mystical sorcerers, and violent fans. Charioteers were lower class men who were highly sexualized figures, and could gain great wealth and popularity.83 Further, the fans of chariot racing were numerous, vociferous and rowdy. Roman elites certainly recognized the political and social liabilities that chariot racing presented. An angry circus crowd could wreak awful destruction on a city, as happened in Constantinople in 532 CE during the Nika revolt. In describing the long-standing Roman literary topic of the circus and spectacle, the term “discourse” is especially fitting for a couple of reasons. First, discourse is a postmodern buzzword that connotes a relationship between power and language. This power/language connotation fits spectacle and chariot racing well. In the case of the literary response to 81 Livy, The History of Rome: The First Eight Books, trans. D. Spillan (Oxford: Halcyon Classics, 2010), Kindle ed., 2.1.10-11. 82 Jean-Claude Richard, “Patricians and Plebians: The Origin of a Social Dichotomy,” in Social Struggles in Archaic Rome: New Perspectives on the Conflict of the Orders, 2nd ed., ed. Kurt A. Raaflaub (Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2005), 107-111. 83 Lee-Stecum, 224. 46 spectacle, discourse is useful term because the debate is based on the non-traditional structure of power created by the popularity of spectacle, and the language elite authors used to attack this opponent to their traditional power structure, which was based upon class, wealth and education. Second, discourse is appropriate for the debate over chariot racing and spectacle because of its etymology. Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary lists the etymological root of discourse as the Latin word discurrere, a verb which means a “to run to and fro.”84 This very word must have been uttered by many a circus fan, watching the horses carry their beloved racers around a dusty track. STRUCTURE, METHOD AND DEFINITIONS. This chapter addresses the opinions of ancient and late antique authors towards spectacle and chariot racing. In this chapter as well as the next, a negative opinion of popular spectacle is be defined in this essay as an opinion from a primary source that casts scorn or derision upon the spectacle or its attendees, either directly or implicitly. Examples of an ancient author’s references to spectacle will be considered as necessary in order to discern the author’s prevailing opinion of the games. This does not mean that every mention of spectacle or chariot racing in every Roman author will be considered in this chapter; that would be an impossible task! Instead, appropriate and representative selections from influential and key Roman authors are included. In order to show what exactly constitutes a “negative” view of chariot racing, the primary sources will speak for themselves. Secondary sources concerning authors’ background and opinions will be considered, but ultimately the characterization of the Roman author’s perspective on spectacle will be based upon examination of the primary sources themselves. Thus, relevant examples from the texts will be clearly presented and analyzed cogently and fairly in order to determine the author’s opinion. This chapter will attempt to classify the positions and opinions of selected Roman authors into time periods and further into types of argument. The linear approach to the authors, with the earliest authors first and the classification of arguments will display the 84 Frederick C. Mish, ed., “Dicourse,” In Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th ed., Springfield, MA: Merriam Webster Inc., 2004. 47 change over time of the discourse on spectacle. The authors of the first group comprise the elder statesmen of the Roman canon, the Republican authors: Polybius, Cicero and Livy. Next are the authors of the early Empire: Tacitus, Suetonius, Juvenal, and Plutarch. Third are the authors of late antiquity: Cassius Dio, Ammianus, Julian, Procopius and Cassiodorus. This collection of authors is considered a “secular” or non-Christian group, whose authors did not write their respective works as Christian religious texts, or polemics. The following chapter’s authors comprise a group of “ecclesiastical” writers, who wrote works of explicitly religious or theological character. By breaking the authors up into these two groups, subtle differences in the shades of opinion on spectacle and chariot racing are more effectively displayed. Secular writers tended to assert their respective opinions on spectacles in an elitist tone, and more often closely aligned the argument against spectacle with the stoic philosophers. Ecclesiastical writers, while often elitist, favored somewhat different lines of argument, as the later chapter will show. This reasoning behind specific groupings of authors is clear cut for earlier authors; Cicero and Livy were certainly secular and not ecclesiastical writers. Conversely, Augustine of Hippo, Isidore of Seville, and Sidonius Apollinaris were Christian writers who held Church office, and wrote religious works. Thus they are included in the ecclesiastical section. Three later writers’ lives, Ammianus, Procopius and Cassiodorus present uncertainty and problems concerning their appropriate grouping because of the religiously-charged political atmospheres in which they wrote. It is not the purpose of this essay to determine the character, religious or secular, of these authors’ works, but historiographical questions ought to be considered. First, Ammianus and his religious proclivities have been the subjects of recent historiographical debate. Some proclaim that Ammianus was a pagan polemicist, while an older historiographical tradition claimed that he was a Christian.85 A third camp posits that Ammianus was an apostate Christian, much like the Emperor Julian, whose religious and personal biases affected his history beyond what most modern historians admit.86 85 E. D. Hunt, “Christians and Christianity in Ammianus Marcellinus,” The Classical Quarterly 35, no. 1 (1985): 187 n8. 86 Timothy D. Barnes, Ammianus and the Representation of Historical Reality (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2000), 197. 48 Nevertheless, it is beyond the scope of this chapter to determine where Ammianus’ religious sensibilities lay. For the purposes of this chapter, and in the context of the historiographical debate over the place of spectacle in Roman society, Ammianus will be considered a secular historian because of the topics covered in his work. Whether he intended to write a pagan history that countered the swelling Christian tide, or whether he was a Christian historian who sought to make his work appear more classical, he wrote about Roman history from a politico-military perspective, emphasizing battles and campaigns over church synods and theological disputes. His perspective and opinions regarding spectacle will be considered as an author whose primary focus was not overtly Christian nor pagan, nor overtly religiously themed. He is therefore included in the secular writers chapter. Procopius’ work presents another set of problems for the modern historian who attempts to classify it. Classified among the secular category of writers for this essay, he is the one of two to write in Greek. Despite this linguistic difference, his works catalog the history of the later Roman Empire and contribute greatly to the discourse on spectacle and chariot racing. He was Christian, and like Ammianus, he did not make religious events and themes prominent in his works, instead emphasizing politico-military history. Procopius, unlike Ammianus, did acknowledge the power and influence of the theological controversies and considered the impact of synods and other major ecclesiastical events, as they related to the political sphere. Third, the case of Cassiodorus includes brisk contemporary historiographical debate. Cassiodorus lived approximately ninety-three years, and authored many works. Many of his works are letters, written as a public servant in the Ostrogothic Kingdom of sixth-century Italy. Most of these works were penned as a ghost-writer for kings, or other high officials. These works were assembled by Cassiodorus himself in 538 CE in a collection called the Variae. With the publication of this work, Cassiodorus withdrew from public life, became a monk, and entered a monastery in Squillace, in southern Italy, where he began to write strictly theological works.87 Cassiodorus’ change in careers coincided with the conquest of Ostrogothic Italy by the Byzantine Empire, and years of prolonged war between the two nations. 87 James J. O’Donnell, Cassiodorus (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1979), 103. 49 Cassiodorus’ early secular works contain numerous references to chariot racing and spectacle, and his later works do not. For this reason, Cassiodorus is included in the secular writers section in this essay. Doubtless, he was a Christian during this time, and this perspective is clear in his writings, but the underlying purpose of the works was not religious. It was clearly secular. In fact, the most of letters which contain applicable references to chariot racing and spectacle were penned under the names of the Kings of Italy and addressed to members of his government. There was little overt religious content to these missives. To classify Cassiodorus’ Variae as an ecclesiastical source simply because he later became a monk would be inaccurate, and would not take into account the context in which the work was written. A final historiographical problem to consider is the wide expanse of time between the earliest and latest authors. Polybius wrote in the second century BCE, and Cicero wrote in the first century CE. Cassiodorus and Procopius wrote in the sixth century CE. This eighthcentury span of time is both immense and significant. It is nothing short of astounding that Cassiodorus and Cicero both wrote in a language that can be called Latin, and Polybius and Procopius wrote in a similar Greek. Further, that all four men were familiar with the sport of chariot racing is remarkable in its own right. To attempt to apply the same historical judgments to these very different men simply because they were “Romans” would be improper. Polybius and Cicero contributed to the early discourse about spectacle, and helped to form it. The later writers followed and added to the discussion. Context, as always, is incredibly important. EARLY AUTHORS Spectacle entertainment began early in the Roman culture. Historian Alison Futrel writes “The great games of the ancient Mediterranean grew out of religious holidays to become spectacular celebrations.”88 Authors from the Republican era encountered spectacle entertainment and depicted it in their works. Writing in the second century BCE, the historian Polybius depicted various games and spectacles in his work, The Histories. As a Greek who embraced Roman culture as Rome came to dominate Greece and the rest of the 88 Futrel, 1. 50 Mediterranean region, Polybius was familiar with the Greek tradition of athletic contests, including the Olympic games. Polybius wrote that the first Roman diplomatic contact with Corinth included Roman participation in the Isthmian games, but did not depict the event itself.89 Polybius also briefly related Scipio Africanus’ triumphal games, however he did not note much participation or interest from Scipio, instead Polybius portrayed the excitement of the commoners. Publius Scipio returned from Libya soon after the events I have narrated. The expectation of the people concerning him was proportionable to the magnitude of his achievements: and the splendour of his reception, and the signs of popular favour which greeted him were extraordinary. Nor was this otherwise than reasonable and proper.90 Thus, in his description of the event, Polybius included a disclaimer about the reasonableness of the spectacle, implying that some, or perhaps most spectacles, although not Scipio’s triumph, were quite unreasonable and improper. Although this veiled criticism was hardly a wholehearted denunciation of popular spectacle, it does suggest Polybius’ inclination away from spectacles as historically relevant occurrences. He declined to give a full description of the splendor—what must have been fantastic war prizes, exciting races, and bloody gladiatorial shows that surely came with such a magnificent triumph. Instead, he merely mentioned that there was great rejoicing, and that in this case, it was reasonable. In all, it is an underwhelming depiction. Polybius’ close relationship with the Scipio family may too have been an influence on his treatment of Publius Scipio’s triumph. Eckstein asserts that Polybius’ friendship with Scipio Aemilianus was well known, but downplays the effect that this friendship had on Polybius’ writing. “As for the pro-Aemilian and pro-Scipionic Tendenz in Polybius’ work, this should not be exaggerated…the fact is that Polybius was not in the least averse the criticizing the relatives of L. Aemiulius Paullus of Pydna, or of Scipio Aemilianus.”91 In any case, Polybius was not critical of all spectacles, but did criticize some behaviors at spectacles. 89 Polybius, The Histories of Polybius, trans. William Roger Paton (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1960), Kindle ed., 2.12. 90 91 Ibid, 16.23. Arthur M. Eckstein, Moral Vision in The Histories of Polybius (Los Angeles; University of California Press, 1995), 9. 51 Polybius used athletic spectacle, a boxing match, as a metaphor to explain why the Greek masses may have supported Perseus in his fight against Roman domination. Evelyn Shuckburgh titled the section “The Unthinking Multitude” in her translation: When the report of the favourable result for Perseus of the cavalry engagement, and of the victory of the Macedonians, spread through Greece, the inclination of the populace to the cause of Perseus blazed out like a fire, most of them having up to that time concealed their real feelings. Their conduct, to my mind, was like what one sees at gymnastic contests. When some obscure and far inferior combatant descends into the arena with a famous champion reputed to be invincible, the spectators immediately bestow their favour upon the weaker of the two, and try to keep up his spirits by applause, and eagerly second his efforts by their enthusiasm. And if he succeeds so far as even to touch the face of his opponent, and make a mark to prove the blow, the whole of the spectators again show themselves on his side. Sometimes they even jeer at his antagonist: not because they dislike or undervalue him, but because their sympathies are roused by the unexpected, and they are naturally inclined to take the weaker side. But if any one checks them at the right moment, they are quick to change and see their mistake. 92 There, Polybius landed a subtle jab against spectacle and the common man. He directly criticized the foolish attitude of the common Greek, supporting Perseus, while indirectly criticizing the foolish crowd at a boxing match, who were unsure of what they really should want. Were all spectacles full of folly and unthinking multitudes? Polybius did not directly claim that they were. Instead, he merely brought a single example of spectacle foolishness to the fore, and assumed his reader would understand the implication. Eckstein posits that Polybius was generally distrustful of the masses in general. Eckstein argues that Polybius, a wealthy aristocrat, saw the masses as easily corruptible and a threat to the social order.93 From this perspective, public spectacles were a tool of the wealthy to attempt to control the ignorant masses. A third example of spectacle criticism by Polybius included the King Antiochus Epiphanes. Polybius described in rich detail fantastic festival that the king held, but then related the king’s inappropriate conduct at the festival, in typical moralizing fashion. And when the festivity had gone on for a long time, and a good many of the guests had departed, the king was carried in by the mummers, completely 92 Polybius, 27.9. 93 Eckstein, 130-1. 52 shrouded in a robe, and laid upon the ground, as though he were one of the actors; then, at the signal given by the music, he leapt up, stripped, and began to dance with the jesters; so that all the guests were scandalised and retired. In fact everyone who attended the festival, when they saw the extraordinary wealth which was displayed at it, the arrangements made in the processions and games, and the scale of the splendour on which the whole was managed, were struck with amazement and wonder both at the king and the greatness of his kingdom: but when they fixed their eyes on the man himself, and the contemptible conduct to which he condescended, they could scarcely believe that so much excellence and baseness could exist in one and the same breast.94 Again, Polybius pointed out what he saw to be the problems with spectacle. The base, common behavior of the king was an offense to Polybius’ notions of class and appropriate conduct. From the examples in Polybius, a reader may think that spectacles and festivals had a way of bringing out the worst in men. Still, Polybius did not question the public spectacles themselves. His indirect criticism of spectacles instead focused on behavior of crowds and individuals at spectacles. Polybius was a moralist who thought that his history ought to teach lessons for the leaders of the present day, and wrote disparagingly about King Antiochus for his base and common drunken behavior, asserting that such behavior was beneath elites and kings, an argument loaded with classism.95 Common men, mummers, and slaves were held to no such standards, and were presumably expected to act foolishly. Polybius’ Histories was certainly influential and well-read among literate Romans. Polybius’ criticisms of spectacle and the behavior they produced would be echoed by later writers. Cicero produced a vast array of works nearly a century after Polybius. Spectacle and chariot racing were not central to these works by any measure, although they did play a role. Cicero was an elite Roman who served in the public sphere, and practiced law. He lived through the Civil War between Pompey the Great and Julius Caesar, and also the alternating spectacles of Pompey and Julius Caesar, which both vied for the attention and adulation of the common man in Rome, in order to achieve a political edge with the Roman masses.96 These games, which were well documented by contemporary historians, were some of the 94 Polybius, 31.4. 95 Eckstein, 243. 96 Richard C. Beacham, Spectacle Entertainments of Early Imperial Rome (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999), 51-54. 53 most magnificent spectacles which had occurred in Rome up to that point. Cicero mentioned his attendance at one of Pompey’s triumphal games in a letter to his friend M. Marius, but refused to admit that he may have enjoyed or approved of the spectacle. “On the whole, if you care to know, the games were most splendid, but not to your taste. I judge from my own.”97 Gunderson, a modern historian of Roman spectacle, relates the habit of Cicero to use the word venatores, or hunters of game in the arena, to describe his political opponents in the Philippic Orations, as a subtle way of denigrating their high social status.98 In his political life, Cicero was intimately familiar with spectacles, and the funding of them. He, albeit begrudgingly, funded spectacle entertainment during the year of his aedileship, a junior public officeholder position. He wrote: “If, therefore, such entertainment is demanded by the people, men of right judgment must at least consent to furnish it, even if they do not like the idea. But in so doing they should keep within their means, as I myself did.99 Although he may have gone along with the established way of doing things, Cicero made it clear that he did not agree with the tradition. In the same work he wrote: This sort of amusement [spectacles] pleases children, silly women, slaves, and the servile free; but a serious-minded man who weighs such matters with sound judgment cannot possibly approve of them. And yet I realize that in our country, even in the good old times, it had become a settled custom to expect magnificent entertainments from the very best men in their year of aedileship.100 Here, Cicero showed not only a general disapproval of spectacles, but also an elitist perspective, casting judgement on those who may have enjoyed the games. This perspective is not surprising from Cicero, when one considers his critical style and political bent. In his many works, Cicero was a vociferous critic of various aspects of late Republican life. He criticized the, the loss of prestige of the Senate, the culture of judicial bribery, land reform bills, among other things.101 Cicero shared many beliefs with the optimates party, who believed in the value the Roman Senate and of the old Roman aristocratic government. The 97 Cicero, Letters of Cicero, trans. E. S. Shuckburgh (Charleston: BiblioBazaar, 2011), Kindle ed., 12.1. 98 Gunderson, 136. 99 Cicero, De Officiis, Loeb ed., trans. Walter Miller (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1913), http://www.constitution.org/rom/de_officiis.html, 2.17.58. 100 101 Ibid, 2.16.57. Ann Vasaly, “Cicero, Domestic Politics and the First Action of the Verrines,” Classical Antiquity 28, no. 1 (2009): 101; Bell, 6. 54 optimates were a strong conservative group that spoke for the interests of the nobiles or old aristocratic families of Rome. Although Cicero was not from an old family, he took up the mantle of aristocratic politics, and criticized the pandering to the masses which he felt politicians who held spectacles embraced. Cicero displayed his distaste for the popularity of spectacles in other of his works besides On the Offices. In his oration For Murena, Cicero expressed a similar sentiment to his elitist disapproval of spectacle in On the Offices. Defending political friend Lucius Murena against a charge of bribery, and in an effort to attempt to marginalize the hostile opinions of the urban masses, Cicero asked the rhetorical question, “Do I need to point out that the people and the ignorant masses adore games? It is hardly surprising that they do.”102 With this question, Cicero attempted to bring doubt into the judges’ minds about the validity of the opinion of the urban masses, and favor instead the opinions of the military, who favored Murena. The secondary effect of this rhetorical device was an insult at the spectacle culture of late Republican Rome, and one that Cicero thought would assist his case. Cicero must not have been the only elite Roman to feel so opposed to the popularity of spectacle and the perceived ignorance of the masses. He must have thought that the judges might have been swayed by just such a question, and he was right. Thanks in large part to Cicero’s defense, Murena was aquitted. Whether or not he swayed the judges in Murena’s case with his anti-spectacle rhetoric, Cicero’s oratory and other works made a significant impression on later authors. His contribution to the discourse about popular spectacle was immense. His elitist criticism and ultimate begrudging acceptance of the institution of spectacles would be echoed again and again by later authors. Polybius too, as a model for historians especially, was a canonical author whose early contribution to the spectacle discourse set a lasting tone. His moralizing judgment of spectacle behavior became a recurring theme among later writers as well. 102 39.2. Cicero, Defence Speeches: Cicero, trans. D. H. Berry (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000), 55 EARLY IMPERIAL AUTHORS Livy’s From the Founding of Rome was written a few decades after the death of Cicero, and followed Polybius in the tradition of canonical Roman history. Livy, like the other authors, was an elite Roman, from northern Italy. He wrote in the late first century BCE and early first century CE, during the rule of Octavian Augustus, and Livy’s history was no doubt influenced by the polemicized political environment of Augustus’ reforms. Modern historiography debates the character of From the Founding of Rome, considering the possibility that the work was primarily a piece of Augustan propaganda used to validate the rule of Augustus. Recent scholarship has suggested that Livy’s work can be read on a number of different levels, from moralizing history in the style of Polybius, to an original historiographical dialogue about the founding and re-founding of Rome.103 Polybius too has received similar treatment in recent scholarship, and should not be characterized simply as a moralist.104 Regardless of the modern historiographical debate about Livy’s work, in the years after its publication, it became a canonical volume, and certainly depicts a traditional mythical Roman foundation narrative. Because of the impact that the work had on later authors, Livy’s treatment of spectacle made significant contributions to the spectacle discourse of Roman antiquity. Livy’s history narrated the history of the city of Rome, from its mythical founding up to the author’s present day. In an early episode, Livy recounted the mythic Rape of the Sabines. Romulus, in order that he might afford a favourable time and place for this [violence against the Sabines], dissembling his resentment, purposely prepares games in honour of Neptunus Equestris; he calls them Consualia. He then orders the spectacle to be proclaimed among their neighbours; and they prepare for the celebration with all the magnificence they were then acquainted with, or were capable of doing, that they might render the matter famous, and an object of expectation…. When the time of the spectacle came on, and while their minds and eyes were intent upon it, according to concert a tumult began, and upon a signal given the Roman youth ran different ways to carry off the virgins by force.105 103 Gary B. Miles, Livy: Reconstructing Early Rome (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1995), 220. 104 Eckstein, 16. 105 Livy, 1.9. 56 Here Livy presented a complex scene for the reader; the deified King Romulus engaged in trickery, and distracted his neighbors during a spectacle in the name of Neptune. Subsequently, the mythic king seized his neighbors’ daughters not by manly force, but by distraction in an early foundation myth. To the ancient Roman, the Rape of the Sabines was not considered in the same way that modern readers may conceive of a rape, as a detestable act of sexual violence. The title of the event, the Rape of the Sabines comes from the Latin verb, rapire, or “to seize.” The Sabine women were seized while their fathers and brothers were distracted by the spectacle of chariot racing during the Consualia. Gary Miles, a Livian specialist, refers to the event as the “Theft of the Sabines.”106 Miles associates the Rape of the Sabines with Mediterranean wedding traditions of “wife stealing” like carrying a bride over the threshold of a door.107 At the surface level of Livy’s depiction of the Rape of the Sabines, the spectacles of the Consualia were so profoundly distracting that they enabled the seizure of the Sabine women, from under the noses of their paternal guardians. Unpacking the meaning in Livy’s work, the Rape of the Sabines was a morally questionable act that involved trickery and deception, and not a glorious way to depict the deified founder of Rome. Here, Livy was careful not to ascribe too much beneficence to Romulus, lest he seem to support monarchy, and upset the Senatorial class. By associating Romulus so closely with the trickery of the Rape of the Sabines, Livy ensured that Romulus’ character would bear a subtle stain, and perhaps foreshadow the later royal Tarquinian rape of Lucretia. Further, by including the circus games of the Consualia with the Rape of the Sabines, Livy gave the reader a moral touchstone. Most of Livy’s immediate readers were probably educated elite men of some stripe, and to them the games were already of questionable moral character, and at the very least profoundly distracting, based on the previous discourse. Here, with the Rape of the Sabines, another morally questionable act, Livy piled on another shadowy association to public spectacle. It would not have been a complete surprise to the Roman reader to see depravity at the races. The association of spectacles with such an event as the Rape of the 106 Miles, 180. 107 Ibid, 187-8. 57 Sabines may have been part of Livy’s attempt to rationalize the event and place it into a comprehensible context for his readers. Livy’s monumental work included a number of other references to spectacle, without a display of an overtly negative bias. His contribution to the discourse on spectacle should not be considered wholly negative. He recounted the foundation of the Circus Maximus as a place for senators and equitates to watch “solemn games,” showing the potential for culturally acceptable games in the glorious past.108 By the same token, he also depicted the beginning of a war with the Volscians based upon the exclusion of those peoples from the games, again associating the games with trouble.109 In all, Livy recorded numerous references to games, gladiatorial matches festivals and military triumphs over the seven centuries of Roman history and historical myth he included in his work. By no means does he damn all spectacles, or even associate all of them with licentious and vulgar behavior, but instead with profound distraction. In his telling, the very first spectacle of the Roman state was associated with the Rape of the Sabines, and the effect of that spectacle was to distract and deceive the Sabine men to lose sight of their responsibility to guard their daughters. The spectacles, in Livy’s depictions, were not inherently immoral events, but rather occasions when men and women could be distracted. Livian scholar Andrew Feldherr posits that Livy attempted to create a history that functioned as a public spectacle, in order to mirror the civic life of Livy’s day, in which civic participation included attendance at public events.110 Feldherr includes the daily Roman patron/client meetings as spectacles, in the sense of a Roman politician having been seen or spectatus, the gerundive form of the Latin spectare, “to see.” This thesis diverges from Feldherr’s usage of the word spectacle as a small, daily political event, remaining closer to the modern usage of the word as something larger. Livy’s history was nothing like a massive public spectacle, nor like chariot races held in monumental arenas, although Livy was surely influenced by the importance of daily client/patron relationships. 108 Livy, 1.35. 109 Ibid, 1.38. 110 Felderr, 12-3. 58 Shortly after Livy, the stoic philosopher Seneca wrote about spectacle, among many other topics. The stoic party of ancient philosophy has a long history, and Seneca followed in the tradition of earlier writers, most recently Cato the Younger, a contemporary of Cicero. Cato, advocating a firm, unbending stance on bribery, opposed Cicero in the previously discussed For Murena oratory.111 Seneca wrote in the early Imperial Era, in the first century CE. Ancient Stoic philosophy demanded strict adherence to moral values, and a serious outlook on life. Seneca valued contemplation of the great philosophical questions, and active participation in public life. He wrote many letters to his friend Lucilius, addressing the philosophical questions of his day, in his characteristically rhetorical philosophical style. His seventh letter, On Crowds, is a stark denunciation of the popular spectacles and their vulgar crowd. But nothing is so damaging to good character as the habit of lounging at the games; for then it is that vice steals subtly upon one through the avenue of pleasure. What do you think I mean? I mean that I come home more greedy, more ambitious, more voluptuous, and even more cruel and inhuman because I have been among human beings.112 Seneca continued in that letter to condemn the crowds and their passion for blood and death at the gladiatorial matches. His initial criticism though is not specific to gladiatorial shows. It was the crowd with which he was primarily concerned, not the inhumanity of the gladiatorial show. His distaste for the crowd and their vices suggests an elitist bend to his criticism. The crowds, which included mostly the vulgar populace, polluted “good character.” Seneca though did not merely criticize the vulgar masses. He was a critic of large swaths of Roman culture and society, and often recommended seclusion and withdrawal from the world because of the awful conditions he observed. He wrote in his letter, On the Dangers of Association with Our Fellow-men that “accidents, though they may be serious, are few—such as being shipwrecked or thrown from one’s carriage; but it is from his fellowman that a man’s everyday danger comes.”113 Here Seneca was paranoid of everyone, not just the polluting vulgar crowds at the games. Seneca bemoaned a lack of humanity among 111 Donald M. Ayers, “Cato’s Speech Against Murena,” The Classical Journal 49, no. 6 (1954): 245. 112 Seneca, Letters from a Stoic: Espistulae Morales ad Lucilium, trans. Richard Mott Gunmere (Doma Publishing House, 2011), Kindle ed., 7.2. 113 Ibid, 103.1. 59 his fellow men, imagining an evil-doer around every corner, but this may have been warranted considering the context in which he wrote. Seneca was first exiled, and later met his death by suicide because of his alleged involvement in a plot to assassinate Emperor Nero. Seneca, at times in his life, had much to fear outside of merely the inanity of the games and the inhumanity of the crowds. He was nonetheless a full-throated critic of spectacles and their popularity. In another letter, Seneca facetiously appreciated the games’ popularity for the peace and quiet that he gained at his study when the games were held, but this appreciation was tempered by a consideration of how the world would be a better place if more men exercised their minds instead of their bodies.114 Seneca influence was substantial among later Romans who held a philosophical bent. Later writers, especially Christians, blended Seneca’s unique criticism of the games with their own ideas about the problems with spectacle and Roman culture. Many Christian writers, like Seneca before them, were quick to associate public spectacle with the spread of vice. The historians Tacitus, Plutarch and Suetonius all lived during the late first and early second centuries. All three as well wrote about the early emperors of Rome, albeit in different styles, for different purposes. Tacitus, a senator, wrote narrative history, while Plutarch and Suetonius were known best for their biographies. Modern historiography recalls the characteristics and style of these three authors as distinct, but complementary. Tacitus had the most classical style, and wove his narrative with a traditionalist thread.115 Plutarch was a philosopher who sought to teach moral lessons about the importance of character through his imperial biographies.116 Suetonius was an equestrian and scholar, who wrote his biographies to color and inform Tacitus’ magisterial narrative.117 These three writers established a picture of the early Empire, and further developed the consistent criticism of spectacle and its vulgarity. With these writers, love for chariot 114 Ibid, 103.2 115 Ronald Martin, Tacitus (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981), 10. 116 Christopher Gill, “The Question of Character-Development: Plutarch and Tacitus,” The Classical Quarterly 33, no. 2 (1983): 472-3. 117 Andrew Wallace-Hadrill, Suetonius: The Scholar and His Caesars (London: Duckworth and Co., 1983), 2. 60 racing and spectacle became an effective way to display an emperor’s penchant for vice and offensive incompetence. Before them, chariot racing was certainly criticized, but interest in the games was not in and of itself a vice which undermined a man’s ability to rule. Augustus famously enjoyed spectacles, but attended them in a restrained a dignified way, a model for future emperors.118 Writing about an Emperor’s interest in chariot racing became a form of invective that later authors would employ as well. Suetonius maligned Claudius from the outset of his biography, claiming that Claudius’ own mother referred to him as “an abortion of a man.”119 Later in his biography, in a long chapter on Claudius’ obsession with games, Suetonius wrote about Emperor Claudius’ unnatural love for spectacles in an example of chariot invective: “He often distributed largesses of corn and money among the people and entertained them with a great variety of public magnificent spectacles.…He likewise frequently celebrated the Circensian games in the Vatican, sometimes exhibiting a hunt of wild beasts, after every five courses.”120 Suetonius included two key elements of chariot invective in that passage, a desire for vulgar popularity, and expensive and spectacular games. Claudius was much maligned by Suetonius and others, and his love for spectacle was a prime target for criticism. The spectacles were an immense distraction for an emperor, who ought to have been more concerned with matters of state, and not a slave to vulgar passions. Further, the spectacles served as a device that inhibited good moral character, showed a predilection for luxury, and tyrannical fawning over public opinion. Another example of chariot invective comes from Tacitus, who wrote about the reaction of the common people upon hearing of the death of Nero. “The lowest classes, who had grown familiar with the pleasures of the theater and the circus, the most degraded of the slaves, and Nero’s favourites who had squandered their property and lived on his discreditable bounty, all showed signs of depression and an eager greed for news.”121All other classes of citizen, besides the degenerates and the lovers of spectacle were overjoyed 118 Futrel, 35. 119 Suetonius, Lives of the Twelve Caesars, ed. T. Forester, trans. Alexander Thomson (Digireads.com, 2011), Kindle ed., 5.3. 120 Ibid, 5.21. 121 Tacitus, 1.9. 61 by the news of Nero’s death, according to Tacitus. The lowest classes, to whom Nero inappropriately pandered during his flagrant spectacles, were among the only ones to grieve his death. This passage is a classic piece of chariot invective, combining the elements of vulgarity and the wastefulness of the circus. To the elite Roman reader, the association of Nero with spectacle and the lower classes was offensive to the proper moral order. Nero, as emperor, ought to have had more deference to his high social rank, and withstood some of the lower passions, like love for spectacle. Suetonius reported that Nero even participated in the Greek Olympics as a charioteer.122 This participation was deeply offensive to the elite Roman concept of class and social order. Tacitus and Suetonius, writing after the installation of a new dynasty in the seat of imperial Roman power, were free to denigrate Nero. Beyond criticism of Nero, Tacitus used spectacle as a literary device to signify immodesty and corruption in others as well. About the partisans of Otho, he wrote: “The Vitellians decried their enemy as lazy effeminates demoralized by the circus and the theater.”123 Here, Tacitus put his criticism of spectacle into the mouths of the supporters of the Emperor Vitellian, but the effect was the same. Otho was considered a close associate of Nero’s and a wealthy pleasure-seeker, things of which Tacitus and other elite Romans would not have approved. Plutarch too joined in the negative discourse about spectacle, although in a much subtler style than his contemporaries Tacitus and Suetonius. About Otho, he moralized: “Marcus Otho, now, was a man of good lineage, but from his very childhood corrupted by luxury and the pursuit of pleasure as few Romans were.”124 This does not explicitly mention spectacles, although the corruption of luxury and the pursuit of pleasure may have been assumed to be associated with spectacles in the minds of some readers. Plutarch went on to excoriate Otho for his sexual immorality and failure to divorce his wife after she became Nero’s mistress. Plutarch treated Otho harshly, but with little reference to spectacle, probably because Otho ruled for so short a time that a spectacle would not have been practical. 122 Suetonius, 6.23. 123 Tacitus, 258. 124 Plutarch, Parallel Lives, trans. Bernadette Perrin (Boston: Tufts University Press, 1987) https://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/texts/, Galb.19.2. 62 In other biographies, Plutarch associated Sulla and Julius Caesar with tremendous spectacles, and although he did not take these two men to task for the spectacles themselves, he leveled moral criticisms against both. In addition to this predilection towards spectacle, Julius Caesar was overly ambitious, and prone to pander to the masses. Plutarch mentioned his pandering after noting Caesar’s unconventional public speech after the death of his wife. “This also brought him much favour, and worked upon the sympathies of the multitude, so that they were fond of him, as a man who was gentle and full of feeling.”125 Sulla Plutarch labeled a lustful hypocrite. About Sulla he wrote: There was a gladiatorial spectacle, and since the places for men and women in the theatre were not yet separated, but still promiscuous, it chanced that there was sitting near Sulla a woman of great beauty and splendid birth; she was a daughter of Messala, a sister of Hortensius the orator, and her name was Valeria, and so it happened that she had recently been divorced from her husband….Then followed mutual glances, continual turnings of the face to gaze, interchanges of smiles, and at last a formal compact of marriage. All this was perhaps blameless on her part, but Sulla, even though she was ever so chaste and reputable, did not marry her from any chaste and worthy motive; he was led away, like a young man, by looks and languishing airs, through which the most disgraceful and shameless passions are naturally excited. However, even though he had such a wife at home, he consorted with actresses, harpists, and theatrical people, drinking with them on couches all day long. For these were the men who had most influence with him now: Roscius the comedian, Sorex the archmime, and Metrobius the impersonator of women, for whom, though past his prime, he continued up to the last to be passionately fond, and made no denial of it.126 Sulla’s attraction to gladiatorial matches was not a moral problem for Plutarch. Instead the gladiatorial matches offered an occasion for Sulla’s immorality to surface. Plutarch chose to introduce his passage on Sulla’s immorality by placing the first event in the arena, which signaled to the reader a place where little good moral conduct occurred. Sulla’s relationship with Valeria was not immoral in itself, because Valeria was an upper class divorcee. Plutarch raised doubts about the relationship based on the secretive nature of the lovers’ introduction at the morally suspect games, and the inappropriate passions aroused by the games and the relationship that Sulla embraced. 125 Ibid, Caes.5.5. 126 Ibid, Sull.35.5-36.2. 63 Plutarch moved on from Sulla’s questionable marriage to his awful choice of friends. By the time Plutarch’s passage about Sulla’s moral failures completed, Plutarch associated Sulla with actors and mimes, the lowest of the low in the Roman social order. Plutarch chose to include this seemingly trivial detail of Sulla’s life, his friendships with entertainers, because of the clear moral lesson that it portrayed to the elite Roman reader. Actors and entertainers, members of the spectacle subculture, were low class, and had no place consorting with serious political leaders. At the very least such a friendship was a distraction. For Sulla to ignore this class difference in his choice of friends was a moral failure. Sulla was a dictator, the pinnacle of political power at the time, and to Plutarch, his power obscured his view of his own moral compass. While not as deliberate as the circus invective of Suetonius or Tacitus, Plutarch’s subtler form of the convention displays how pervasive critique of public spectacles had become by the first century BCE. Plutarch did not despise spectacle, or at least Greek athletic spectacle. Plutarch wrote favorably about Greek games, like the Olympic Games, as demonstrations of athleticism and good moral rule.127 In contrast, Roman spectacle, whether a military triumph, gladiatorial games or funeral oration, was not depicted in the same light. Plutarch, like Tacitus and Suetonius, portrayed Roman spectacles in negative ways. Some spectacles were occasions of immorality, like Sulla’s improper introduction to his wife Valentina. Other spectacles were examples of naked pandering, like Nero’s chariot racing and use of spectacles to curry public adoration. Juvenal wrote around the same time as Plutarch, Suetonius and Tacitus, the early second century CE. Juvenal was a satirist, and wrote one of the most memorable quotations regarding the spectacle culture of Rome. And what of the commons? They follow fortune as always, detest the victims. If a little Etruscan luck had rubbed off on Sejanus, if someone out of the blue had struck down the Emperor’s careless old age, this same rabble would now be proclaiming Sejanus Augustus. But these days, we’ve no vote to sell, so their motto is ‘Couldn’t Care Less’. Time was when their plebiscite elected Generals, Heads of State, commanders of legions: but now 127 Plutarch, Thes.25.4, Arist.12.9. 64 They’ve pulled in their horns. Only two things really concern them: Bread and the Games.128 The mob longs eagerly for just two things—bread and games, a frustrated and hopeless criticism of the culture of the time. To Juvenal, the vulgar mob had so devolved that politics and other weighty cares were in the long past, along with the entire glorious past of the city. With its obsession over spectacle, Rome was reaching a nadir. Today, scholars posit that Juvenal was a wealthy Roman, trained in rhetoric and law. Translator Peter Green estimates that by the time Juvenal’s Tenth Satire, which contains the above passage, was published, Juvenal was an old man of around seventy years old, who had suffered an exile because of his earlier, angrier works.129 Juvenal’s criticism of Roman culture was extensive, so extensive that it contributed to Juvenal’s exile. It is thus hardly surprising that Juvenal the angry satirist would denigrate spectacle. Still, his neat eloquence, exemplified in the Latin phrase panem et circenses, has given his opinion of spectacle a lasting currency. Many modern considerations of Roman spectacle take the satirist’s pithy line from the Tenth Satire to heart, and use Juvenal’s bitter complaint as an example of the inanity of Roman spectacle subculture. In fact, Juvenal’s complaint about spectacle fits squarely in the Roman literary trope of backward-facing and nostalgic way of looking at the “glorious” past. Spectacle had a political subtext, and Juvenal must have understood that. In the Tenth Satire he ignored the latent political nature of such a state-sponsored assembly of people, and chose to depict the games as a useless extravagance. Spectacle subculture existed before Juvenal’s day, and the waxing and waning of influence of the plebs was common in Roman politics. Juvenal’s distaste for the games should be placed in a larger picture of the longstanding elitist Roman discourse against popular spectacle. The discourse on spectacle was crystallizing around a very negative view of the games and the popularity that they held. Juvenal held a clearly negative view on spectacle and the crowd. He wrote about it elsewhere in his works as well.130 However, Juvenal was a satirist whose very purpose for writing poetry was to criticize and insult Roman culture. His 128 Juvenal, The Sixteen Satires, trans. Peter Green, 3rd ed. (New York: Penguin Classics, 1998), 10.73-81. 129 Ibid, xvi. 130 Ibid, 11.192-198. 65 negative view of the circus may not have been particularly notable to a contemporary. He, like the stoic Seneca, or the high-minded Cicero, took issue with a number of things in Roman culture, spectacle and chariot racing just happened to be included. What is notable, however, is the persistence of this same discourse of hundreds of years of Roman literature. Juvenal’s famous words about the inanity of the circus were not merely the angry satire of a disaffected elite Roman. His words were that, but they were also contributing to a tradition of elitist grievances about the vulgar masses and their games. LATE ANTIQUE AUTHORS Chariot racing, public spectacle and elitist criticism of both persisted into late antiquity. Ammianus Marcellinus wrote his history in the fourth century CE, and he covered a long period in it, from 96 until 378 CE. The starting date of 96 CE was a direct homage to Tacitus, whose own history ended with the death of Domitian in that year. Ammianus began his Res Gestae with the ascent of Nerva, which followed Domitian’s death. As such, based upon its structure and time period covered, it seems that Ammianus intended his history as the successor to the great Latin historical tradition.131 Most of the work, however is lost, and only the years 354 to 378 CE are extant. As previously noted, his work has been challenging for modern scholars to classify because of questions about his religious and political motivations and bias. Although Ammianus’ focus was clearly on the military and political history of the period, his treatments of chariot racing and public spectacle followed the tradition of his predecessors. In book 15, he digressed about the erosion of public morals in Rome, and unsurprisingly pointed to the circus. Of the lowest and poorest class, some spend the night in bars….They hold quarrelsome gambling sessions, at which the make ugly noises by breathing loudly through the nose; or else—and this is their prime passion—they wear themselves out from dawn to dusk, wet or fine, in detailed discussion of horses and their drivers. It is most extraordinary to see a horde of people hanging in burning excitement on the outcome of a chariot race. Things like this prevent anything worthy of serious mention happening at Rome.132 131 132 Barnes, 26. Ammianus Marcellinus, The Later Roman Empire: (AD 354-378), trans. Walter Hamilton (New York: Penguin Books, 1986), 6.26. 66 Ammianus, an author who desired to have his work included in the same canon as Tacitus and Livy, followed the same conventions. His passion with which he critiqued the habits of the masses suggests that he felt strongly about the subject, beyond merely following literary convention. Ammianus disparaged the morals of the common man, and directly associated those corrupt morals with the foolishness of the circus. He even went further than others, dehumanizing the lowest class by insulting the way they even breathe. He added to the spectacle discourse complaints about drunkenness and gambling among the masses. It seems that Ammianus, after taking in the negative discourse on chariot racing and class of the previous years, sought to improve upon that argument by adding his own angrier spin upon it. While the previous passage may have been Ammianus’ clearest articulation of his opinion on chariot racing and the populous, he included other contributions to the discourse in his work as well. The Emperor Julian, whom Ammianus praised, held games at Sirmium during his march towards Constantinople to depose Constantius. Ammianus included only a short sentence about these games in his work, “he gratified the populace by devoting the next day to chariot races.”133 This short sentence seems out of place in the grand narrative of Julian’s glorious march, but it set up a later half-hearted criticism of Julian. In assessing Julian’s moral qualities, Ammianus wrote: “He liked the popular applause of the mob, and was excessively eager to be praised.”134 Here, Ammianus paid homage to his predecessors, and attempted to give his work an air of reliability. He did not want his history to read as a panegyric for Julian, so Ammianus engaged in a half-hearted example of circus invective about his hero. Despite his great admiration for Julian, the negative discourse on chariot racing and popular spectacle continued. Procopius of Caesarea wrote negatively about spectacle in his infamous work, The Secret History. Procopius lived in the Eastern Roman Empire during the sixth century, wrote in Greek, and had a working knowledge of Latin. He worked as a legal advisor to the Byzantine General Belisarius, and wrote voluminous histories based upon the glories and exploits of Belisarius’ military campaigns. Procopius’ The Secret History is a vulgar, angry 133 Ibid, 21.10.2. 134 Ibid, 25.4.15. 67 work written in secret denouncing Justinian and his wife Theodora. According to G. A. Williamson, translator of a modern English version of The Secret History, scholars rediscovered The Secret History centuries after Procopius’ death, from the Suidas, a tenthcentury Greek encyclopedia.135 Thanks to The Secret History, Procopius remains a subject of great controversy and debate in historical scholarship, as previously discussed. A member of elite Byzantine society, Procopius judged spectacles harshly. Regarding the circus factions he wrote: “The people have long been divided into two factions.…Justinian attached himself to one of them, the Blues, to whom he had already given enthusiastic support, and so contrived to produce universal chaos. By doing so he brought the Roman State to its knees.”136 Thus, Procopius associated Justinian with the circus factions. This association served a dual purpose. First it was clear chariot invective in the style of Tacitus and Suetonius. The association demeaned the emperor to lower him to the level of the circus factions. The much maligned Nero, as previously discussed, infamously supported the chariot racing, and obsessed over horses.137 Second, Procopius directly associated the violence and chaos in Constantinople with Justinian’s support of the Blues. To Procopius, the circus factions were wild young men who wrought destruction all over the Empire, killing wantonly and raping little boys.138 Justinian’s association with these violent mobsters angered God, and provided even more justification for Justinian’s demonization elsewhere in the work. Although the spectacles were wildly popular in the Byzantine Empire, charioteers and other performers comprised the lowest stratum of society. In Circus Factions, Alan Cameron posits the civilian hierarchy of Byzantine society, based upon anonymous inscriptions dated from the sixth century. The clergy and government administrators fill the top rungs, and at the bottom, the “useless” are followed by “Theatrical people…charioteers, musicians, actors and so forth.”139As such, Procopius sought to embarrass Justinian and Theodora by recalling 135 Procopius, 33. 136 Ibid, 71. 137 Suetonius, 6.22. 138 Procopius, 71-3. 139 Alan Cameron, Circus Factions, 81-2. 68 Theodora’s humble origins as an actress in the circus shows. He wrote: “Later, she joined the actors in all the business of the theater and played a regular part in all their stage performances.”140 Beyond this, Procopius asserted that Theodora whored herself before meeting Justinian.141 This accusation, whether true or not, naturally followed the reputation of an actress in the Byzantine mind because of the low status of actors, and the sexualized and violent circus counterculture. Procopius did not need to spell out the sexual accusations to defame Theodora. Her past as an actress would have sufficed. Nonetheless, Procopius demonstrated an anti-spectacle prejudice by using association with the circus as a means to insult Justinian and Theodora. Other lay writers in late antiquity did not have such pointed opinions on spectacle. John Malalas, a sixth-century lay historian from the Byzantine bureaucracy, included many depictions of the circus and circus factions in his Chronicle. Although these depictions often included the mob violence and riots associated with the circus factions, Malalas did not editorialize and condemn the violence or the factions. By the same token, Malalas did not profess support for the spectacles or the circus factions. His history merely reported the factional violence, and let the reader decide whether or not to condemn it.142 From Malalas’ account, it is clear that spectacle did not fade in the Byzantine Empire and eastern cities as readily as it did in the west. In the East, the Roman Imperial system continued in name, and the Emperors used the tradition of spectacle to hearken back to the Roman past. A Byzantine Emperor proclaimed himself the Emperor of Rome, whether or not that particular city fell under his political control. Secular rulers, despite pressure from members of the Church (see below), desired the political power and legitimacy gained from allusions to Roman traditions and rule, and maintained the tradition of spectacle, much to the enjoyment of the people. Cassiodorus, an Italian political figure in Ostrogothic Italy in the early sixth century, represented this delicate political-religious balance well, and wrote about it in his Letters. 140 Procopius, 83. 141 Ibid, 84. 142 John Malalas, The Chronicle of John Malalas, trans. Elizabeth Jeffreys, Michael Jeffreys, and Roger Scott (Melbourne: Australian Association for Byzantine Studies, 1986). 69 Cassiodorus served under King Theodoric the Great, an Ostrogoth who first conquered Italy for the Byzantine Emperor Zeno and later declared his independence. Cassiodorus wrote: No wonder that such a departure from all sensible dispositions should be attributed to a superstitious origin. We are compelled to support this institution [spectacles] by the necessity of humouring the majority of the people, who are passionately fond of it; for it is always the few who are led by reason, while the many crave excitement and oblivion of their cares. Therefore, as we too must sometimes share the folly of our people, we will freely provide for the expenses of the Circus, however little our judgment approves of this institution143 Thus, Cassiodorus, ghost writing for Theodoric, aptly related the problem of the spectacles for the late antique ruler. Cassiodorus, while he did not fully support or condone spectacle, realized its political utility. Therefore, he could not condemn it, implying that his hand was forced, due to the precarious political situation. He was forced, by the circumstances of the day, to submit to the ‘folly of the people.’ This admission about spectacle was, in a way, especially profound because of its clear-mindedness. Other authors had railed against the circus and the vulgar fans, and the awful subculture that lay right beneath the surface. These authors gnashed their collective teeth over the collapse of the morals of Roman society, and blamed others, either the emperor, or the crowds for the scourge of spectacles. Cassiodorus instead acknowledged that his judgment opposed the institution, but freely admitted that he was powerless to contain the folly of the people. CONCLUSION Chariot racing and public spectacle were bulwarks in a rapidly changing society in Rome. The persistence of the popular spectacle, especially chariot racing, in the ancient Mediterranean region is truly notable. Even as the political landscape shifted and Rome changed, the horserace, and its wild following withstood the test of time. More notable still is the consistent tone of the discourse among elite Roman authors about spectacle and chariot racing. Polybius wrote about moral dangers of spectacle and the influence of the masses in his Histories. Polybius used the metaphor of a calm sea to describe the common masses; when things were calm, all was safe, but when winds, like spectacle, began to whip, the 143 Cassiodorus, 3.52.8. 70 masses became dangerous.144 Later authors, like Cicero and Seneca, tended to agree with Polybius on the basis for disapproval of public spectacle. Spectacle was all too enticing for the vulgar masses, and therefore dangerous to the ruling classes. To the later authors, aristocratic Romans had the responsibility to guide the state, and the influence of too much spectacle could be problematic. An aristocrat who held too many spectacles could be perceived as pandering to the lower classes. The spectacles were something that the lower classes enjoyed, but high minded men like Cicero and Seneca sought entertainment from what they considered higher pleasures of oratory or philosophy. After Polybius, later Roman historians contributed to the discourse on spectacle as well. Livy’s history was full of examples of spectacles, not the least of which was the Consuelia that preceded the Rape of the Sabines, in Rome’s earliest days. Livy’s nuanced and detailed depiction of this event was ripe with meaning, from the trickery of Romulus to the profound distraction of the chariot races of the Consuelia that enabled the seizure of the Sabine brides. It can be difficult to posit reasons for the elitist criticism of the races. Beyond an elitist ideology itself, which suggests to the powerful man that he is somehow better than those who do not have his status, little about the discourse has a clear rationalization. The system of funding the games may have contributed to a wide dislike for them among the elites, as Cicero’s complaints about financing the games suggests. The Roman state controlled the games, to some extent. Clearly, in the Republican period it was private citizens, with political motivations, that held spectacular entertainments. Later, after Augustus’ reforms, the motivation for a private citizen to give money to support the games would be lessened. Aediles, the junior officers of state who managed the annual games under the Republic, still needed to manage the games for the Emperor. Tacitus related that Nero increased greatly the number of races in a year, and the payouts for winners, because of his obsession with the games. This change in policy calls to mind the question of who exactly paid for these games? Did the elites begrudge the Emperor this wanton expenditure of their tax money? If so, this would help to explain the hatred of the “useless poor,” who enjoyed 144 Eckstein, 130. 71 the games so vociferously, but were perceived to have paid little in the way of taxes to fund them. Besides the issue of fear of circus crowds and their potential for great violence, elites considered themselves better than the fans of spectacle. Literacy rates in the ancient world are unknowable with any precision, but literacy was by no means universal. Modern archeology has unearthed extensive circus graffiti, which suggests that some level of literacy existed among the common attendees of the circus, but this information is incomplete. Even so, authors whose works have survived the onslaught of time must have been men and women of some education and thus status. Charioteers, on the other hand, were near the bottom of the social order. The fans of the races were not high above their heroes. Chariot racing was a popular spectacle among the masses, but to an upper class Roman, such vulgar pursuits were below them. Roman authors gave various reasons for general disdain towards spectacle. Early stoic philosophers opposed the unnatural fervor of the games. Later commentators echoed this sentiment while adding other complaints. It is important to note that the later Roman author entered a centuries-old cultural debate when he brought up the issue of chariot racing or spectacle in his work. Spectacle, from the very earliest days of Rome, was a powerful cultural institution, whose various characteristics, not the least among them popularity, precluded any unbiased assessment by later commentators. Roman authors were educated in a literary tradition that generally held spectacle to be vulgar and low class folly. Early Roman authors developed this opinion, and it perpetuated. Because of his great stature in the literary and rhetorical sphere of the high empire and late antiquity, Cicero’s opinions on chariot racing and spectacle held considerable sway over later authors. Cicero was known for his clarity of mind and eloquence of argument, a paragon of Latin literature. His letters and his oratory were canonical for Roman students. His opinions, like Polybius’ or Seneca’s, were no doubt influential. Secular authors from the times of Roman Republic to the Byzantine Empire wrote negatively about chariot racing’s low class fans and the inanity of the races. As such, these authors established a consistent discourse of negative perceptions of chariot racing that used many of the same images and negative characterizations over the span of hundreds of years. Later authors drew on their predecessors and wrote disparagingly about chariot racing and its 72 low class fans. Later Christian Roman authors generally followed this trend of disapproval of chariot racing and spectacle subculture, although they developed some of their own arguments based upon their new Christian value system. With the next group of authors, the motivation for criticism of the circus is much clearer. Christians saw the spectacles as sinful and a threat to their hold on the attentions of the people, spiritual and otherwise. 73 CHAPTER 4 SPECTACLE DISCOURSE AND CHRISTIAN AUTHORS INTRODUCTION The Roman literary discourse on spectacle was not limited to secular writers. Christian authors joined secular authors in criticism of the popular institution of spectacles. Some Church Fathers even went so far as to condemn participation in any sporting spectacle as sinful, even those as seemingly innocuous as chariot racing. In the Roman tradition, chariot races grew as part of the pagan liturgy, praising different gods, depending on the festival that was to be celebrated. The popularity of spectacle afforded political gain as well (above). Emperors attended games and reinforced their popular backing through these events. After the Roman state religion shifted from paganism to Christianity, chariot racing persisted as both a popular spectator sport and government institution through the first millennia CE. While chariot racing endured as a popular entertainment, gladiatorial contests gradually faded from existence in the years after Constantine’s accession as sole emperor. The Christian Constantine first outlawed gladiatorial matches in 325 CE, but the games continued.145 The western Emperor Honorius issued another edict in 399 CE, which marks a more accurate endpoint for the tradition of gladiatorial matches. Weidemann relates that Christians, in general, were opposed to gladiatorial matches more than chariot racing or wild beast hunts, but he argues that their opposition was not based on humanitarian grounds. Instead, he argues that Christians saw the munera as a threat to the Church’s monopoly on salvation.146 In the munera, the Roman people could provide a gladiator with his salvation, or condemn him to his death. To Weidemann, this symbolic threat to the Church’s power outweighed any humanitarian concerns. Although this symbolic problem was certainly important, Weidemann’s argument seems to ignore the visceral pain of Christian martyr 145 Weidemann, 156. 146 Ibid, 155. 74 experience, and the group trauma that must have been seared into the collective memory of Christians. In any case, the end of the gladiatorial bouts occurred in the fourth century CE, and represented little more than superficial change in spectacle subculture. Chariot racing, which appears the most popular and prevalent spectacle, endured along with the vigorous enthusiasm of the masses, and negative discourse of elite authors. Despite—and perhaps because of—the immense popularity of the chariot racing and other sporting spectacles, many Church leaders did not approve of its members’ attendance or participation in the games. As previously discussed, this disapproval was not confined to Church authors. State persecutions of Christians, especially the Neronian Persecutions and Great Persecutions of Diocletian, seared the gory spectacles of Christian martyrs into the memory of Christian writers. This memory played a major role in developing an antispectacle position. Even after the conversion of Constantine, the attitude of many of the Latin patristic writers remained staunchly against spectacle. The memory of persecution and the pagan background of the circus kept the some in the Church from supporting or even acquiescing to popular entertainments until centuries after the persecutions ended. Many late antique Church Fathers and their contemporary lay historians shared the aristocratic disdain that ancient authors commonly held for public spectacle. In contrast to those who baldly condemned spectacles, other Christian writers used images and tropes from the Roman spectacle tradition, especially the images of manly gladiators and charioteers, to demonstrate theological points. These writers, without necessarily assenting to spectacle, used the imagery of spectacle in an implicitly complimentary way to color their theological works. The gladiator and the charioteer were manly characters in pre-Christian Roman literary tradition, who exemplified Roman virtus, (a kind of manliness and public bravery) and received a great deal of public adulation. Historian Mathew Kuefler argues that Christian writers recognized this literary trope, and employed it to display the new manliness of Christianity. These writers developed a Christian idealization of “Christ’s charioteer,” who was able to “reign in his passions.” 147 This new Christian combined the pre-Christian Roman literary trope of the manly charioteer (sometimes soldier or gladiator) and the bravery that 147 Mathew Kuefler, The Manly Eunuch: Masculinity, Gender Ambiguity, and Christian Ideology in Late Antiquity (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001), 175 n78. 75 Christians ought to display in their faith. Whether they disapproved of spectacle, acquiesced to it, or cleverly employed its imagery, the Church Fathers, like the previously considered aristocratic secular authors, were men who looked upon the past and its traditions with reverence, and were not wont to change. As such, the writers of the early Church did not radically change the negative discourse on spectacle, but instead contributed to it, in a subtly different way. STRUCTURE, METHOD AND DEFINITIONS This chapter analyzes the views of patristic Christian authors about spectacle, displaying a generally negative view of Christian late antique authors regarding spectacle. In addition, this chapter identifies the perspectives on spectacle of late antique Christian authors within the larger Roman literary discourse on spectacle. The Christian authors’ perspectives on spectacle are analyzed with respect to secular authors, in order to display similarities and differences in argument and approach to the problem of spectacle. Identical to the previous chapter, a negative opinion of popular spectacle is defined in this chapter as an opinion from a primary source that casts scorn or derision upon the spectacle or its attendees, either directly or implicitly. The Christian authors are treated in a linear fashion, with the earliest authors first. By arranging the authors in this way, consistent lines of argument and opinions on spectacle emerge from the authors’ works over time. Thus, the effect of the spectacle discourse in shaping opinions of later writers can be displayed and analyzed. In a similar manner to the previous chapter on secular writers, authors’ opinions are characterized based upon direct examination of the primary sources. Direct quotations from the primary sources are employed in translation. Secondary sources are included where the analysis of other historians was influential or is relevant. Again, similar to the chapter on secular authors and spectacle discourse, it would be impossible to gather all the writings from every late antique Christian author, instead a selection of works from an influential collection of authors is considered. This selection of works gives a sense of the tone and direction of the discourse on chariot racing. Tertullian and Augustine of Hippo are the first authors addressed in this chapter. Both Tertullian and Augustine have substantial historiographical debate surrounding their works. 76 A small consideration of these historiographical questions relevant to their respective opinions on spectacle is treated below in the section on these authors. It is important to note that the short biography and historiographical considerations do not represent a definitive voice in the representation of either man’s entire corpus of work, merely an entryway to the assessment of the authors’ contributions to the discourse on spectacle. Addressed next are Salvian and Sidonius. These two authors were Christians aristocrats who wrote in fifth-century Gaul. Although these authors do not have the historiographical baggage of Tertullian and Augustine, both require consideration. Salvian was born approximately twenty-five years before Sidonius, in the early fifth century. He was a monk, and wrote primarily theological works. His most famous work is an apology for Christianity, De Gubernatione Dei, or The Government of God, a work that wrestled with the same sort of questions as Augustine’s De Civitate Dei, the spiritual causes for the decline of the Western Roman Empire. Salvian, whom historian Glenn Olsen regards as a “relatively minor figure,” was a moralist who posited that the sinfulness of Christians was the spiritual cause for the decline of the Western Roman Empire.148 Sidonius was a Gallic bishop. His work includes Letters and Panegyrics to Roman emperors of old. Modern historian David Frye classifies Sidonius as an aristocratic and nostalgic Roman, who was very interested in maintaining romanitas, the “Roman-ness,” of Gaul in the face of a failing Western Roman Empire.149 Sidonius was certainly an aristocrat and a Romano-phile. His perspective is one of the few available from Gaul during that time period. Last, this chapter treats the Iberian bishop, Isidore of Seville. Isidore lived in the former Roman province of Hispania. Born around 560 CE, Isidore descended from an aristocratic Hispano-Roman family. He lived and wrote during the sixth and seventh centuries on the Iberian Peninsula, in the Kingdom of the Visigoths. Isidore received his education in a monastery after the death of his parents, augmented by his brother Leander’s guidance. Around 601, Isidore ascended to the archbishopric of Seville, a seat previously 148 Glenn Olsen, “Reform After the Pattern of the Primitive Church in the Thought of Salvian of Marseilles,” The Catholic Historical Review 68, no. 1 (1982): 1. 149 David Frye, “Aristocratic Responses to Late Roman Urban Change: The Examples of Ausonius and Sidonius in Gaul” The Classical World 96, no. 2 (2003): 196. 77 held by his brother, Leander. As a bishop, Isidore wrote extensively on many topics, authoring histories, theological works, astronomy, and an encyclopedia. In this encyclopedia, Isidore sought to catalogue all of the world’s knowledge in the tradition of ancient authors. Although Isidore died in 636 CE before he could complete the work, it remained an influential and circulated widely throughout Europe during the Middle Ages. The work, titled Etymologies, included a chapter on chariot racing and spectacles. During Isidore’s lifetime, the cultural influence of the Roman past still lingered in the Visigothic Kingdom in Iberia, but the Roman Empire in the west no longer existed as a political entity. Still, Isidore wrote favorably about the Roman past. In his History of the Goths, Sueves and Vandals, Isidore called Rome, “golden Rome, the head of nations.”150 In the Etymologies, Isidore listed Rome first among the cities in the chapter of that name.151 Isidore held affection for Rome, which in the West had essentially fallen, but held great love for his native land of Iberia as well. As such, Isidore lived in a different, yet intimately related, cultural milieu compared to previous authors who lived and wrote before and during the fall of the Western Roman Empire. Politically, the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire, centered in Constantinople, remained a powerful force and still considered itself the Empire of Rome, although the military control of the city of Rome went back and forth between Ostrogothic Kings and the Byzantine Empire. The Byzantine Empire exerted force in Iberia as well, maintaining a small colony, and in conflict with the Visigothic Kingdom. The Visigothic Kingdom was a diverse and cosmopolitan state, and Isidore travelled outside Iberia and met with other churchmen in Constantinople and Rome. The authors included in this chapter, admittedly, make up a very small part of the entire corpus of Christian literary production during the late antique period. All lived in the Western Empire, and wrote in Latin. As such, all have a western perspective on chariot racing and spectacle. Nonetheless, all of the authors considered in the chapter lived in a Mediterranean world that conceived of a single Church, united by orthodox doctrine. The 150 Isidore of Seville, History of the Goths, Sueves and Vandals, trans. Guido Donini and Gordon B. Ford, vol. 2 (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1970), 1.4. 151 Isidore of Seville, The Etymologies of Isidore of Seville, trans. Stephen A. Barney, W. J. Lewis, J. A. Beah and Oliver Berghof (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 15.1.2. 78 nature of this doctrine was a source of constant debate, and numerous Church councils sought to unite the often contentious theological factions within the Church. This chapter does not address these theological questions, nor the question of unity, or lack thereof, within the late antique Church. Instead, this chapter focuses on the discourse on spectacle, as it evolved over time. The western focus is in part a reflection of the sources. Leading Christian authors in the west followed Augustine, and his virulent denunciation of spectacle, keeping the discourse on spectacle alive. In the east, although secular writers like Procopius and Ammianus opined about spectacle, ecclesiastical writers tended to focus on other things. EARLY AUTHORS One of the earliest Fathers of the Western Church was Tertullian. He lived and wrote in the late second and early third centuries CE in the city of Carthage, in Roman North Africa. In the late antique Church, Tertullian’s work was well known. St. Jerome, who lived two centuries later, wrote of Tertullian in his work De Viriis Illustribus (On Famous Men) relating that Tertullian was regarded among the leading Christian Latin writers, whose works were so famous they did not need to be listed. St. Jerome went on to note Tertullian’s schism with the Church later in life. Jerome wrote that Tertullian was “driven by the envy and abuse of the clergy of the Roman Church, he lapsed to the doctrine of Montanus.”152 Due to this heretical bend, Tertullian is not considered a saint in the Church, although his earlier works remain influential. In addition to his theological works on varying subjects, including the nature of the Trinity, his pointed denunciation of the public games and theater shows of the pagan Roman state form the ideological basis for later Christian writers’ rejection of secular games. Tertullian’s conversion to Christianity occurred around 195 CE. Tertullian wrote about his conversion, but only in an oblique manner, unlike St. Augustine’s later autobiographical style. Tertullian wrote in his treatise De Paenitentia (On Repentence), that he was previously “blind, without the Lord's light,”153 but wrote little else about the specifics 152 Jerome, On Illustrious Men, trans. Thomas P. Halton (Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 1999), 53.4. 153 Tertullian, Treatise on Penance: On Penitence and on Purity, trans. William P. Le Saint (Westminster: Newman Press, 1959), 1.1. 79 of his previous life. From fragments of his own work, and from other sources, modern historians agree that before his conversion, Tertullian was a typical aristocratic Roman pagan. From study of his style, historians assert that he was well educated. Today, historians posit that he was a lawyer, due to his argumentative writing style and analytical mind. In addition to his vehement argumentation, he wrote in a high rhetorical style, another indicator of a classical legal education. Alison Futrell, in her work Sourcebook on the Roman Games, compares Tertullian’s anti-spectacle position to the first century CE stoic philosopher Seneca, writing “Some of Tertullian’s critique of the arena parallels that found in Seneca, where the passions of the mob act as a corruptive agent on the equanimity and virtue of the individual spectator.”154 The Christian Tertullian and the pagan Seneca’s arguments are certainly different in the specifics (above), but the vague similarity suggests Tertullian’s familiarity with Seneca’s work. Seneca argued against the agitation of the spirit that the games and moreover the crowds caused, while Tertullian bemoaned the role of unholy passions and lust in spectators at the circus as an affront to the Holy Spirit. 155 Both writers echo a common Roman disapproval of the rabble, and the vulgar entertainments. Thus, Tertullian followed many of the same conventions in the negative discourse on spectacle that previous secular authors had. A century after Seneca, Tertullian, an elite, educated Roman, echoed similar sentiments to his predecessors, in a Christian context. In contemporary scholarship, debate rages over Tertullian’s role in the early Church. St. Jerome listed Tertullian as a presbyter, but some modern historians suggest that Tertullian remained a lay person because of his works regarding his wife.156 This ambiguity brings into question the level of authority with which Tertullian wrote. As a bishop, he could have condemned spectacle and enforced such a condemnation among his flock, by refusing to provide sacraments to spectacle attendees. As a lay theologian, Tertullian could have merely cast a wicked eye on those who did not heed his condemnation of spectacle. Regardless of 154 Futrel, 167. 155 Ibid, 117. 156 Victor Power, "Tertullian: Father of Clerical Animosity Towards the Theatre," Education Theatre Journal 23, no. 1 (1971), 36. 80 his place in the Church hierarchy of his day, Tertullian’s work as a theologian had influence. Early twentieth century historian Reginald Melvile Chase called Tertullian “the Father of Christian Latin literature.”157 Tertullian wrote many works about his theology and Christian morals, over thirty that survive in some form today. In the 1970s, historian Victor Power wrote: “Certainly Tertullian carved out attitudes followed by later Latin writers of the African church, namely Lactantius, Arnobius, Cyprian, and the two greats Jerome and Augustine.”158 Power’s article argues that the Church’s longstanding disapproval of the theater, a component of spectacle, had its germination in the De Spectaculis of Tertullian. Tertullian’s treatise De Spectaculis (On the Public Shows) survives in a manuscript from the twelfth century. The manuscript is located in the Vatican, as well as fragments of the text in other locations.159 In it, Tertullian clearly laid out his argument against Christian attendance or involvement in public shows. He structured his argument around two fundamental points: the first that the public shows are idolatrous, and the second that the public shows create in the people who watch them a lust for pleasure. The first point represented a vigorous new Christian Roman argument, thus altering the tone of the spectacle discourse. The second argument would have been more familiar to a contemporary pagan Roman, echoing the sentiments of Seneca and other ancient moralists. In the first chapter of On the Public Shows, Tertullian asserted “these things [the games] are not consistent with the true religion and true obedience to the true God.” As such, Tertullian displayed his intended audience, fellow Christians. In addition, he laid out a new line of rhetorical attack against the games. The games were inherently pagan, and an affront to God. Tertullian established his rhetorical antagonist as a Christian who considered the games to be a creation of God—as all things are a creation of God—and a pleasurable recreation, fit for Christians. No such written opinion survives from Tertullian’s time, but the fact that Tertullian needed to write such a treatise indicates that the games were at least 157 Reginald Melville Chase, "De Spectaculis," The Classical Journal 23, no. 2 (1927): 107. 158 Power, 46. 159 Roger Pearse, ed., “Codex Vaticanus Ottobonianus Latinus 25,” The Tertullian Project, last modified December 10, 1999, http://www.tertullian.org/manuscripts/ottobonianus.htm. 81 somewhat popular among Christians. The games were popular enough for Tertullian to moralize about, and excoriate those who partook. Later, when discussing the circus factions, Tertullian claimed a pagan basis for these fan groups as well. He associated the circus factions with the seasons, red with summer, white with winter, green with spring, and blue with autumn, and calling them “the colors of idolatry.”160 Modern scholarship does not support this claim, but later Christian writers, like Isidore of Seville, would use it to bolster their arguments against the circus. 161 Tertullian closed his first argument against idolatry of the games, and wrote that “all the shows of the circus everywhere must be attributed to their origin, must be examined at their source. For the little rivulet from its spring, the tiny shoot from the first leaf, has in it the nature of its origin.”162 In searching for a scriptural basis for his argument, Tertullian admitted no direct prohibition of spectacle in the Gospels. Instead, he looked to the Psalms of King David for his basis, writing “happy is the man, who has not gone to the gathering of the impious, who has not stood in the way of sinners, nor sat in the chair of pestilences.”163 Further, Tertullian wrote that “every show is a gathering of the impious”164 and that “the whole equipment of the public shows is idolatry pure and simple”165 He, listed numerous gods and goddess to whom the Roman state dedicated its games, and celebrated in its festivals. No one could deny the overt pagan celebration of spectacle in the second and third centuries. Tertullian’s argument made sense in that context. Christians did not participate in other pagan religious ceremonies, like sacrifices to the emperor. In fact, Christian martyrs died simply because they would not sacrifice to the emperor. In Tertullian’s argument, to attend the ritualized pagan spectacles, devoted to the pagan gods, would have been tantamount to worship of the emperor, or apostasy. 160 Tertullian, Apology; De Spectaculis, trans. T. R. Glover and Gerald H. Rendall (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1931), 9.5. 161 Alan Cameron, Circus Factions, 45-53. 162 Tertullian, Apology; De Spectaculis, 7.4. 163 Ibid, 3.2; Ps 1.1. (New American Bible). 164 Tertullian, Apology; De Spectaculis, 3.8. 165 Ibid, 4.3. 82 Tertullian lived through the Christian persecutions and perhaps even witnessed firsthand the persecution of Christians in the arena. Arguably the most infamous singular persecution occurred in North Africa in 203 CE, the martyrdom of Perpetua. Perpetua was a young woman and new mother who was brutally put to death in Carthage. Her martyrdom was especially notable because of her bravery, elevated social class, and her literacy.166 Perpetua wrote an autobiographical account of her imprisonment and persecution that ended the day before she was put to death, the oldest extant autobiography written by a woman martyr. Some scholars have posited that Tertullian himself was the editor of Perpetua’s memoir, although the evidence is not clear.167 According to the editor’s account, Perpetua’s martyrdom was a gruesome, bloody and sexually offensive affair. The memory of this event lingered in the collective mind of North African Christians. Centuries later, Augustine wrote no fewer than three sermons about Perpetua, and delivered these sermons on the anniversary of her martyrdom.168 Tertullian later wrote about spectacle, “It is our duty to hate these assemblies and gathering of the heathen, were it only that there the name of God is blasphemed; that there, every day the shout is raised to set the lion upon us.”169 This a deeply personal argument in which Tertullian emphatically uses the first person possessive “us” to show how closely the persecutions cut to the heart of a “true” Christian. Tertullian directed his second argument about the unholy passions roused by the games at a slightly different audience, one unmoved by claims of idolatry and the horrors of martyrdom. He wrote, We have now established the charge of idolatry, enough of itself to warrant our abstaining from the shows. But let us go a step further and look at it in another way, chiefly for the benefit of those who flatter themselves that such abstention is not definitely prescribed—as if not enough were said about the shows, when the lusts of the world are condemned.170 166 Brent D. Shaw, “The Passion of Perpetua,” Past and Present 139 (May 1993): 11. 167 Ibid, 30. 168 Ibid, 36-38. 169 Tertullian, Apology; De Spectaculis, 27.1 170 Ibid, 14.2. 83 He aimed this argument at Christians, but also subtly appealed to Roman stoics. In addition to the allusion to stoic philosophy’s distaste for pleasure and the passion of the rabble, this second argument had a more lasting resonance for later Christians. The passions which the spectacles aroused did not change after the Conversion of Constantine. Passionate factional rivalry, gambling and sexual immodesty remained features of the circus subculture. Tertullian’s fiery moral arguments were grounded in the tradition of previous writers. He contributed similar arguments as Seneca or Cicero against to immorality of the crowds at the circus. Where Tertullian broke new ground was in his second argument, the pagan nature of the games, and the awful association of the games with the searing martyr experience. This memory of the martyr experience, vivid and alive in Tertullian’s age, shaped the later Church. Even after the Church’s ascent to political power, martyrs and their stories were valued and recalled. Tertullian’s stark reminder of the horrors of the Roman games impressed later writers, and influenced their opinions on later games. The Christian discourse on spectacle changed significantly, at least in the West, after Tertullian linked the martyrdom experience of the early Church to the Roman spectacle subculture, full of sin and thirsty for blood. LATE ANTIQUE AUTHORS Like Tertullian, St. Augustine of Hippo was born and raised a Roman citizen in the province of North Africa. St. Augustine was born in 354 CE, over a hundred years after Tertullian’s death. Augustine had a different background from Tertullian, who was a Roman lawyer and aristocrat. Augustine’s family name was Aurelius, a common one for freedmen granted citizenship during the Edict of Caracalla in 212 CE. It indicated that Augustine, although a citizen, was not a member of the elite aristocracy from birth. Despite this relatively modest station, Augustine raised his social status first by his noted service as a teacher of rhetoric in Rome and Milan and later as a bishop and theologian in the Church. Augustine received his education in North Africa, and scholars regard him as a brilliant rhetorician. According to his autobiography, Confessions, he was fascinated with pagan philosophy, especially Cicero, and decided to become a Manichaean, a heretical gnostic Christian group, at a young age. Although raised Christian by his mother, this decision presented itself to young Augustine in part because of the relatively high level of 84 religious diversity in the Roman Empire at the time—pagans, Jews, Orthodox Christians and heretical Christian sects all lived under Roman Imperial rule—and his unique family situation. His father Patricius was a pagan Roman, while his mother Monica was Christian, possibly a Berber.171 While a Manichean, Augustine traveled to Rome to work as a rhetorician. There, he lived as a hedonist, attended the public spectacles, theater and enjoyed sexual liaisons. 172 Augustine’s later memories of the spectacles were tainted by the fervor of his distaste for them. He wrote: “I myself, when I was a young man, used sometimes to go to the sacrilegious entertainments and spectacles; I saw the priest raving in religious excitement, and heard the choristers; I took pleasure in the shameful games which were celebrated in honor of gods and goddesses.”173 After discussions with his fervently pious mother and the highly esteemed St. Ambrose and a dramatic conversion moment, Augustine received baptism in the orthodox Catholic Church as an adult. After his baptism and renunciation of his former life he developed a stern, sober morality. Although his baptism changed his attendance habits at the spectacles, Augustine always maintained his interest in philosophy and rhetoric. In his Confessions he justified this interest in philosophy, even ancient philosophy, because “wisdom is close to God, and philosophy is the love of wisdom.”174 Augustine wrote extensively on many subjects, from theology, blending Platonic thought and Christianity, to pedestrian sermons condemning bad attendance at ecclesiastical services because of the circus.175 Augustine’s world contained many concrete similarities to Tertullian’s; they inhabited the same region just more than a century apart. Ancient Hippo was approximately 171 Peter Brown, Augustine of Hippo: A Biography (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2000), 19-21. 172 Augustine of Hippo, The Confessions, ed. Paul A. Boer Sr., trans. J. G. Pilkington (Veritatis Splendor Publications, 2012), Kindle ed., 3.2.2. 173 Augustine of Hippo, The City of God against the Pagans, trans. George E. McCracken, William M. Green, David S. Wiesen, Philip Levine, Eva Matthews Sanford, William McAllen Green, and William Chase Green (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1957), 2.4. 174 175 Augustine of Hippo, The Confessions, 3.4.7-8. Daniel Van Slyke, "The Devil and His Pomps in Fifth-Century Carthage: Renouncing Spectacula with Spectacular Imagery," Dumbarton Oaks Papers 59 (2005): 64. 85 three hundred miles from Carthage by the established roads, and both cities were part of the same Roman province on the North African coast.176 Augustine even travelled to Carthage as a young man. Despite this proximity, Augustine and Tertullian had starkly dissimilar cultural surroundings. Both were Christian Latin theologians, but the specter of the persecutions did not influence Augustine as it did Tertullian. Tertullian’s Roman Empire was officially pagan, hostile to Christians and unitary, with a single Emperor ruling. The Christian Church existed underground. Augustine lived in an era of Christian emperors, a Roman Empire divided between separate Eastern and Western Empires, and a powerful and politically substantial Church. Augustine also lived through the pivotal Visigothic sack of Rome in 410. This event was a blow to the psyche of Roman citizens around the Mediterranean, and many blamed the new Christian influence for the military failure. Augustine was shaped by this event. Already a highly influential bishop in 410, he felt the importance of this historic event, and in response to the sack and its purported Christian association, wrote De Civitate Dei (The City of God), in which he contrasted the temporal and earthly city of Rome, full of sin and circus, with the heavenly and eternal City of God, full of peace and love. Despite these cultural differences, Augustine echoed Tertullian’s arguments about spectacles. Throughout his many works, Augustine often heaped scorn upon chariot races and spectacles. In the Confessions, Augustine cured his friend Alypius from “the plague of the circensian games.”177 In The City of God, Augustine explicitly associated the games with the sinful and flawed earthly city of Rome. He credited the pagan gods, whom he regarded as evil spirits and demons, with the perpetuation of the games. He wrote “Know then, you who are ignorant of this, and you who feign ignorance be reminded, while you murmur against Him who has freed you from such rulers, that the scenic games exhibitions of shameless folly and license, were established at Rome, not by men’s vicious craving, but by the appointment of your gods.”178 This association served a twofold purpose. First, it refuted the idea that pleasurable sporting entertainments were pursued for their own ends, for any sort of sporting aesthetic, or 176 Brown, Augustine of Hippo, 5. 177 Augustine of Hippo, The Confessions, 6.7.11-12. 178 Augustine of Hippo, The City of God, 2.32. 86 a natural athletic recreation. Augustine condemned the games as sinful because they “sprang from sinful pagan fountain,” to borrow Tertullian’s imagery. Second, the association of the games with the pagan rituals that formerly accompanied them placed the genesis of the games, and their long tradition of disrepute, in the hands of the pagan rulers, and the demons who kept the tradition of the spectacles alive. Augustine argued that Rome fell not because of Christian misrule, but instead because of the vestiges of evil pagan society and perverse morals still present in Roman society, especially in the spectacles. Augustine lamented the staying power of the games and other entertainments, beyond the time of the pagan Roman state, and saw the sack of Rome as a call to repentance. To him, a Christian empire ought not to include such sinful frivolities, but ought to focus instead upon Christ. Historian Peter Brown writes about Augustine and his era: “A man open to headlong change in himself, he [Augustine] was able to register with uncanny sensitivity the changing climate of the Roman world in the last century of the Western Empire”179 Brown argues that Augustine’s vast corpus of work represents a central piece to understanding Roman culture during Late Antiquity. In his biography on Augustine, Augustine of Hippo, Brown emphasizes the centrality of Augustine’s work, and its vast influence on western civilization. Furthermore, Augustine’s condemnation of spectacles was an element of Augustine’s desire for drastic change in the world. Spectacles were a symbol for Roman elites to show continuity with the glorious past, and as such, Augustine detested them. The wealthy wasted money on these spectacles, and while Augustine sought a transformation of the Roman world, and the way wealth was used, he could not condone spectacles. Brown wrote: “There would be no truce between Augustine and the traditional ways of spending wealth in circusshows. These shows had become a way of showing that the old way of Roman life had survived.”180 This argument posits a break with the work of Tertullian and Augustine, suggesting that Augustine had an ulterior motive beyond the simple moral revulsion of Tertullian. Certainly, as an older man reflecting upon his past, Augustine was revolted by the shows he 179 Brown, Religion and Society, 9. 180 Brown, Augustine of Hippo, 199. 87 enjoyed as a youth, but he also saw these spectacles as an impediment to the change he sought for the Roman world. More recent historians have been influenced by Brown’s arguments, taking the study of Augustine out of strictly ecclesiastical and theological contexts and into a secular historical context. Daniel Van Slyke’s recent article “The Devil and His Pomps in Fifth Century Carthage: Renouncing Spectacula with Spectacular Imagery” displays the newfound emphasis on Augustine in secular history. The ‘devil’s pomps’ were a reference to the Catholic baptismal ceremony, when the initiate renounced ‘the devil and his pomps,’ essentially rejecting the devil and the attractive temptations that he employed. Augustine and other bishops applied the term ‘devil’s pomps’ to spectacles, especially chariot racing. This article focuses upon the relationship between the Church, its flock, and the Christian secular government, a critical relationship in the culture milieu of Late Antiquity. In the article, Van Slyke analyzes the grounds for episcopal opposition to spectacles, which include chariot racing most prominently, and the manner in which the bishops denounced these spectacles. He argues that Augustine and his North African colleague Bishop Quodvultdeus—among others—inherited a Christianized pagan tradition of rhetorical polemics against spectacles, especially from Tertullian.181 Van Slyke goes on to assert that Augustine accepted both parts of Tertullian’s argument, condemning spectacles on the basis of their pagan history, and the unholy excitement of passions during spectacles. Augustine and his contemporaries went further than Tertullian in establishing grounds for condemnation of spectacles, listing three new arguments against spectacles: “First, the actors in the spectacles are disreputable characters who should not be imitated and, therefore, should not be observed. Second, the spectacles incite various vices, from cruelty to levity, in their viewers. Third, offering such shows entails wasteful and extravagant expenditure.”182 These new arguments show the cultural tension that existed in the late antique period. The government and the Church were at odds over spectacles for the attention of the people. Augustine and his followers accepted wholeheartedly the arguments of the past against spectacles, despite a drastically different context. Further, Augustine and his contemporaries 181 Van Slyke, 56. 182 Ibid, 62. 88 were so opposed to spectacles that they sought to improve upon the prior arguments against them. Augustine and other fifth century Church Fathers still perceived the secular spectacles as a sinful threat to the souls of their flock, in much the same ways Tertullian perceived the pagan spectacles generations before. Despite his vehement opposition to the vices of public spectacle, Augustine curiously employed the imagery of public spectacles in theological metaphors. Augustine, in his sermons wrote about the struggle for chastity, and compared it to a wrestling match, a manly image from the pre-Christian literary tradition. Kuefler argues that in establishing a new Christian version of manliness, the “manliness of the athlete was irresistible for Christian writers.”183 In order to establish the new manliness of Christianity, writers like Augustine sought to connect it with the old manliness (or virtus) of pre-Christian Rome. Manly images like wrestling matches served this purpose well, although Augustine probably would not have approved of the actual wrestling match. A metaphorical wrestling match of the soul, however, seems to be a different matter. Other examples of Augustine’s surprising use of spectacular imagery suggest that he may have had a more nuanced stance on spectacle entertainments than simple opposition. Van Slyke notes that “Augustine goes so far as to portray Christ’s passion as a beast fight like those being offered in the amphitheater.”184 Van Slyke argues that in the struggle to keep members of the parish invested in the weekly sermons, and to more directly renounce the common obsession with public spectacles, bishops, including Augustine, regularly used spectacular imagery to relate Christian truths. In such a way, Augustine and other Christian writers appear to have had a subtle respect for the performers in public spectacles, while rejecting the institution as a whole. Augustine’s great influence continued after his death. Around the Mediterranean, Augustine’s philosophy and thought inspired lay and ecclesiastical writers throughout Late Antiquity and into the Middle Ages, especially in the Latinized west. Among those writers, Isidore of Seville composed an Etymology, attempting to catalogue all the knowledge of the world. His work echoed many of Augustine’s ideas, particularly in the area of spectacles. 183 Kuefler, 176. 184 Van Slyke, 67. 89 Salvian of Marseille wrote shortly after Augustine, in the Roman province of Gaul. Salvian was monk who came from an aristocratic Roman family, and received a classical education. Like Augustine, Salvian was confronted with the reality of a changing world, where the power of the Roman Imperial government was weakening, and with his theology, he attempted to make sense of it. First and foremost, Salvian was a moralist. He believed that the corruption of Christian values was the catalyst which caused the decay of the Roman state in the West. Further, he saw spectacles as a prime symptom of that moral corruption. “In the first place, there is almost no crime or vice which is not to be found at the games. There it is the height of pleasure to see men die, or what is worse and more cruel than death, to see them torn to shreds.”185 Here, Salvian directly addressed the venationes, and attacked their content on humanitarian grounds, an approach derived from Tertullian’s argument against the Christian martyrdom of the games. Although in Salvian’s day Christian persecution had long since ended, professional fighters engaged with wild animals in the arena, and criminals were sometimes put to death in that manner. Salvian expanded his criticism to address more spectacles, beyond the gruesome venationes, later in the work. “The barbarian peoples were sounding their arms around the walls of Cirta and Carthage and the Christian population of Carthage still went mad in the circuses and reveled in the theaters…A portion of the people was captive of the enemy without the walls and a pation was captive of vice within the walls.”186 In this instance, Salvian recalls the sin of Carthaginians, who in addition to their lack of martial spirit, were ‘captives of vice’ because of their love for the circus. In the case of chariot racing spectacles, the Salvian’s interest strayed away from direct accusations of pagan influence—chariot races may have been too widespread for that. Instead, he grouped chariot racing into a category of generic vice. Thus, he implied that even if the barbarian hordes were not about to overtake the city, chariot racing would be sinful, but the attention to chariot racing during a time of crisis made the situation doubly bad. Compared to Augustine, Salvian brought little new to 185 Salvian of Marseille, “The Governance of God,” in The Fathers of the Church: A New Translation. Vol. 3, The Writings of Salvian, the Presbyter, trans. Jeremiah F. O’Sullivan (Washington D. C.: Catholic University of America Press, 1962), 6.2. 186 Ibid, 6.12. 90 the chariot racing discourse. Salvian did hold Augustine’s line against chariot racing, while making rhetorical denunciations about the vices of the games. Writing in contrast to the established negative discourse, the Gallic bishop Sidonius was an aristocratic Roman who wrote a few decades after Salvian and Augustine in the late fifth century. He, unlike the other previously considered writers of this chapter, did not voice opposition to spectacle or chariot racing. Instead, he wrote favorably of a chariot race in a poem to his friend Consentius, commemorating a victory of his: The hoarse roar from applauding partisans stirs the heart, and the contestants, both horses and men, are warmed by the race and chilled by fear. Thus they go once round, then a second time ; thus goes the third lap, thus the fourth; but in the fifth turn the foremost man, unable to bear the pressure of his pursuers, swerved his car aside, for he had found, as he gave conmiand to his fleet team, that their strength was exhausted. Now the return half of the sixth course was completed and the crowd was already clamouring for the award of the prizes ; your adversaries, with no fear of any effort from you, were scouring the track in front with never a care, when suddenly you tautened the curbs all together, tautened your chest, planted your feet firmly in front, and chafed the mouths of your swift steeds as fiercely as was the wont of that famed charioteer of old when he swept Oenomaus along with him and all Pisa trembled. Hereupon one of the others, clinging to the shortest that all's fair in the circus, rushes up as close as possible to the inside car as it passes the turning-post, and succeeds in exciting the horses, so that they plunge wildly and take a crooked course, Consentius watches his opportunity, gains the inside position, and dashes ahead.187 Thus, Sidonius related the palpable excitement and gory delight of a race in Rome in his poem to his friend Consentius. Many Late Antique circus fans must have felt the same. Such a depiction serves to remind readers how exciting a Roman chariot race must have been. Still, the letter was a personal one, from a bishop to his friend. It is doubtful that it had much impact on the discourse on spectacle. Certainly, this bishop did not oppose chariot racing or excoriate his Christian flock for circus attendance, like others did. Modern scholarship notes this less strident moral tone of Sidonius. Sidonius may have been more of a Roman nobleman, who happened also to be a bishop, than an energetic bishop in the style of Augustine or Salvian. R. P. C. Hansen writes, “one gains the impression that he [Sidonius] consented to become a bishop, not because he perceived that 187 Sidonius Apollinarus, “To Consentius,” In Poems and Letters, chapter xxiii, trans. W. B. Anderson, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1936.), 23, http://www.archive.org/stream/poemsletterswith01sidouoft/poemsletterswith01sidouoft_djvu.txt 91 the future lay with the Church, but because he saw this as the best way in which he could serve Romanae res.”188 Another historian, Phillip Rousseau, relates an instance when Sidonius appointed a fellow nobleman, who was not even a cleric, to the local bishopric of a see within Sidonius’ jurisdiction. About the event, Rousseau remarks, “Such attitudes would seem to make Sidonius, not so much a characteristic churchman, but rather the typical butt for the ecclesiastical critics of the time.”189 Taken together with Sidonius’ questionable reputation as a churchman, his seemingly favorable opinion on spectacle may be more understandable. His contribution to the literary discourse on spectacle serves as a weak foil for the prevailing opinion. There must have been others who felt the same, however, there is little written evidence that directly takes on the prevailing literary convention of opposition to the games. Indeed, Livy and Plutarch depicted some games positively in the first century CE (above), and other early secular authors related the glory and majesty of the spectacles, but few Christian authors wrote supportively of games. Less than a century after Sidonius, Isidore of Seville wrote extensively in Visigothic Iberia. Isidore wrote primarily theological and encyclopedic works. His theology was colored by his firm stance against heresy, particularly Arianism. By the sixth century, the influential theologians in the Church no longer feared the scourge of paganism to the same extent as Tertullian and Augustine, but instead devoted great energies to combating the problem of heresy. In Iberia, the Visigothic King Reccared converted from Arian Christianity to Catholic Christianity, at least in part to consolidate his power over his largely Catholic HispanoRoman population, in 589 at the Third Church Council of Toledo. As the bishop of Seville, Isidore combatted heresy vehemently in his writings, like Augustine and Tertullian before him. Paganism did not trouble Isidore as it had earlier Church Fathers. Katherine MacFarlane writes, “Isidore appears to have emerged from his schooling with a great enthusiasm for learning and a considerable tolerance for pagan culture.”190 In the Etymologies, Isidore 188 R. P. C. Hansen, “Reaction of the Church to the Collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the Fifth Century,” Vigilae Christianae 26, no. 4 (1972): 279. 189 Phillip Rousseau, “In Search of Sidonius the Bishop,” Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte 25, no. 3 (1976): 358. 190 Katherine Nell MacFarlane, “Isidore of Seville on the Pagan Gods (Origines VII.11),” Transactions of 92 referred to paganism as something that existed in the past, not a present threat. Concerning the astrological basis for the calendar he wrote, “such indeed was the stupidity of the pagans, who made up such ridiculous figments for themselves.”191 This casual and dismissive reference to the pagans of the past and their ‘stupid beliefs’ differed greatly from Augustine’s aggressive condemnation of paganism and association of all pagan things as demonic, and Tertullian’s vigorous denunciation of pagan idolatry. Accounting for this difference, Macfarlane writes, “By Isidore's day, the battle between Christianity and paganism had been brought to a decisive conclusion. He can hardly have felt that paganism any longer posed a serious threat to the Christian establishment, and he evinces no great interest in the elaborate refutations of paganism by Augustine and the other patristic writers.”192 Despite his affinity for pagan literature, astrology, and etymology, Isidore followed the tradition of previous Church Fathers closely regarding spectacle and condemned pagan influence in the games. Isidore devoted fifty three entries in the Etymologies to spectacles and entertainments. He defined spectacle in the first entry, and declared the origins of games and spectacle evil: “A spectacle in my view is in general a pleasure that corrupts not in itself, but through those things that are done there…you should take note of the stain of the spectacles, so that you may not consider as good what took its origin from evil.”193 Isidore proceeded to list different types of spectacle, from footraces to the circus, displaying a strong knowledge of spectacle, suggesting attendance or some kind of intimate knowledge with Roman spectacle. Iberia contained no fewer than seven Roman style circuses from the time of Roman government on the peninsula, and the ruins remain to this day. Sources do not mention Roman style spectacles in Iberia during this time, but Isidore’s knowledge of spectacle suggests that they may have existed. Isidore’s circus knowledge included the fact that the chariot races constituted seven laps, for example. In Constantinople, and other Byzantine cities of the Eastern Mediterranean chariot racing remained popular the American Philosophical Society 70, no. 3 (1980): 3. 191 Isidore of Seville, The Etymologies, 5.30.5. 192 MacFarlane, 10. 193 Isidore, The Etymologies, 18.18.1-3. 93 throughout this period. In contrast to the Visigothic Kings in Iberia, the Byzantines sought to maintain a cultural connection with the Roman past, and that desire for a clear cultural link contributed to the perpetuation of the Roman tradition of public spectacle. The Byzantine Empire’s small colony in southern Iberia may also have been a place where cultural sharing over spectacle may have taken place, but the extant sources remain quiet about this possibility. Nevertheless, in Visigothic Iberia Isidore knew enough about spectacles to categorize and condemn them, but the paucity of evidence casts doubt on popularity of such spectacles during the seventh century. In a following entry on circus games, Isidore clearly defined the stain of the spectacles: “The circus games were established for the sake of sacred rites and celebrations of the pagan gods; hence, those who watch them are seen to be devoted to demons’ cults.”194 This statement seems to have been pulled directly from Augustine’s fiery rhetoric against the spectacles. Katherine MacFarlane notes that Isidore “was lacking in critical acumen, and had an altogether medieval trust in the authority of the written word.”195 This trust in older writings comes through clearly in his attribution of the circus games to demon cults. Isidore offered no contemporary evidence about the connection between demon cults and spectacles. However, based upon the authority of Augustine’s similar statements about demons and spectacle in The City of God, Isidore condemned the games. Contemporary sources did not mention problems with Iberian demon cults. Nonetheless, Isidore concluded his entry on spectacles: surely these spectacles of cruelty and the attendance at vain shows were established not only by the vices of humans, but also at the behest of demons. Therefore Christians should have nothing to do with the madness of the circus, the immodesty of the theater, the atrocity of the arena, the debauchery of the games. Indeed, a person who takes up such things denies God, having become an apostate from the Christian faith, and seeks anew what he renounced in baptism long bore—namely the devil and his pomps and works.196 Again, Isidore trumpeted Augustine in his arguments against spectacles. Indeed, he even used a phrase that Augustine favored from the baptismal rite, the ‘devil and his pomps,’ 194 Isidore, The Etymologies, 18.27.1. 195 MacFarlane, 4 196 Isidore, The Etymologies, 18.59.1. 94 to describe the problem of the spectacles. This echoing of the same condemnation of the spectacles across hundreds of years of time, from Tertullian to Isidore shows the strength of the moral opposition the Western Christian Church had to spectacle. The Etymologies did not include an entry on the circus factions, but did include a reference to the colors that charioteers wore: blue and green. “Charioteers wear two colors, with which they make a display of their idolatry, for the pagans dedicated the green to the earth and the blue to the sky and sea.”197 Here Isidore does not precisely echo Tertullian’s condemnation of the circus factions from On the Public Shows. MacFarlane asserts that Isidore was familiar with Tertullian and his works,198 so Isidore’s ignorance of the other two circus factions should not be attributed to an ignorance of On the Public Shows. Further, Isidore associates the factional colors with pagan idolatry just as Tertullian, but not the same pagan symbols Tertullian used. Isidore associates the blue with the sea, and the green with the earth; Tertullian associated blue with autumn and green with spring.199 By Isidore’s time, the leading circus factions in Constantinople were the blue and green factions. The other two factions, red and white, were minor factions. In Circus Factions, Alan Cameron writes, “Apart from a short-lived reform of Domitian, there had always been four factions in the circuses and hippodromes in the Roman Empire: Reds, Whites, Blues and Greens. But by the late Empire we hear almost exclusively of Blues and Greens. And not only this: our sources speak …as though only two colours now existed—Blue and Green.”200 Isidore’s erroneous characterization of the pagan allusions of the circus factions in fact reflects the reality of the circus at the time. Isidore’s ignorance of the red and white factions indicated his familiarity with the spectacles of his age. Whether or not chariot racing’s popularity in Iberia in the seventh century had waned, as it probably had, Isidore maintained the Western Church’s centuries old moral position in condemning the spectacles. He did so in a style that represented the acceptance of prior writers’ authority and moral rectitude, and echoed the phrases of Augustine and Tertullian. 197 Isidore, The Etymologies, 18.33.2. 198 Macfarlane, 7. 199 Tertullian, Apology; De Spectaculis, 7.4 200 Alan Cameron, Circus Factions, 45. 95 By associating chariot racing with the defunct pagan religion, and demon cults, Isidore demonstrated the inflexibility on popular entertainments, and a desire to accept the teachings of the past without regard for context. CONCLUSION The denunciation of spectacle by Roman authors had a long history, stretching back to the Roman republic; early authors like Cicero, Seneca and Juvenal wrote pointedly against spectacles. By the time Christian authors began to write about Roman culture, the discourse on spectacle had a clear trajectory. Christian writers on the whole did not alter the discourse’s negative tone, although some, like Tertullian and Augustine, changed the basis of argument against spectacle. Despite spectacle’s great popularity among the masses, elite authors criticized it for the passions it aroused and the effect it had on society. Participants in spectacle comprised the lowest class of person. Some were even slaves.201 This unique feature of the relationship between the ruling aristocracy and fans of spectacle created a spectacle culture in which a charioteer or gladiator could achieve great wealth and popularity, despite his low social status. Elitism among authors surely colored their perspectives on spectacle. In late antiquity, Church Fathers like Tertullian, Augustine and Isidore condemned spectacles. This condemnation followed similar rhetorical patterns, and even used the same arguments, despite vastly different contexts. Tertullian lived during the Christian persecutions of the Late Empire. His opposition to spectacle represents the first enunciation of the Church’s position. Augustine, writing years later in a largely Christianized Roman Empire, expounded upon Tertullian’s argument in order to condemn paganism, and effect radical change in the Western Empire. Isidore, writing years after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, echoed Augustine’s arguments, nearly word for word. These three authors all wrote in Latin in the Western Church, but not all in the Church saw eye to eye on spectacle. The Eastern Church generally acquiesced to spectacle. Twentieth-century historian Sotiris Giatsis wrote, “Christian authorities such as Basil (330-379 AD), Basil of Selevkia (c. 468), John Chrysostom (345-438 AD), Augostinus (sic) (354-430 AD), Cassiodorus (490201 Weidemann, 103. 96 588 AD), and some Church Councils certainly permitted Christians to attend hippodromes, regarding them not as demonic but recreational.”202 Although these authors may have acquiesced to the spectacles, this did not imply that these authors held positive opinions of spectacle. Cassiodorus indeed held to the opinion of the folly of the arena, (as described above) but acquiesced to spectacle because of its political utility. Sidonius’ writings oppose the trend of Christian opposition to spectacle and its subculture. Although a bishop, he enjoyed chariot racing so fully that he was moved to write a poem describing his excitement at a race. Although his work is unique among Christian authors for its unabashed excitement in spectacle, the curious use of spectacular imagery suggests that other patristic Christian writers may have had a level of respect for charioteers and other manly performers that they did not express directly. Augustine, certainly an opponent of spectacle, employed spectacular imagery to describe the manly struggle for chastity, and the spectacular nature of Christ’s passion. Jerome too, used the metaphor of a charioteer’s prudent management of pace to describe the fasting habits of his beloved friend Nepotius.203 In the eastern empire, acquiescence to spectacle was the norm, but many Christians still considered spectacles at least occasions of sin, where sinful behavior occurred within the circus subculture of sexualized entertainment and magic. The argument that Eastern Churchmen found the spectacles nothing more than innocent recreation does not fall in line with the little evidence there is. The Codex Theodosius forbade spectacles on Sundays; if spectacle were truly innocent recreation, there would be little rationale behind such a law.204 Christian authors, especially in the West chose to enter the debate over spectacle, and attempt to change or eliminate the circus subculture with their arguments. Augustine and other bishops like Isidore of Seville, chose a moral high ground based on the arguments of Tertullian and condemned the spectacles. With the collapse of the Western Empire, and economic problems of the fifth century, spectacles seem to have dwindled. In the East, where 202 Sotiris Giatsis, "The Organization of Chariot Racing in the Great Hippodrome of Byzantine Constantinople," The International Journal of the History of Sport 17, no. 1 (2000): 43. 203 Kuefler, 285. 204 Pharr, 2.8.20. 97 association with the Roman past was more important to political legitimacy and survival, the circus existed as a necessary evil. Eastern Christian authors appear to have softer opinions on the matter of spectacle than their Western brothers. The turbulent political reality of late antiquity contributed to the ambiguous historical record regarding spectacle. Nonetheless, spectacle’s popularity and the vulgar circus counter culture continued from Rome eastward throughout late antiquity, despite the long history of aristocratic distaste for spectacle, and varying degrees of disapproval. 98 CHAPTER FIVE CONCLUSION Roman spectacle, especially chariot racing, developed a popular and vibrant subculture full of bawdy entertainments, magic and occasional riotous violence. This subculture existed outside of the normal power structure of Roman society, which was based on wealth, political influence, class and later Church positions. As such, it was perceived with suspicion and hostility by many aristocratic authors. A negative literary discourse grew from this aristocratic suspicion and hostility. There is a significant body of extant physical evidence from which to determine the characteristics of the ancient Roman spectacle subculture. First, the archeological reports from the ruins of the monumental circuses themselves offer an introduction to the massive scope and formalized structure of the ancient chariot race, and spectacle writ large. Next, the chariot racing and other spectacle-themed inscriptions and graffiti display some of the regular seating conventions, and popular perceptions present in the spectacle subculture. The preeminence of the green and blue chariot racing factions in graffiti from Aphrodisias, a city with no monumental circus, suggests the widespread appeal, both of chariot racing, and of the factions as entertainment conglomerates that would have managed actors and mimes along with the traditionally considered factional charioteers. Circus art, too, reveals interesting characteristics of the spectacle subculture. Individual charioteers, who were lowclass citizens and often slaves, rose to the lofty status of being immortalized in public art, in similar fashion to emperors. Emperors even had themselves depicted as leading chariots on coinage. Magic was clearly associated with the spectacle subculture. Numerous magical items associated with chariot racing and spectacle survive today. These items vary in complexity and content, but taken together indicate a professional magical marketplace that was intimately connected to the spectacle subculture. Charioteers were classified in the law codes of Justinian and Theodosius as a class of citizen who was associated with magic and sorcery, which was illegal. Surely, this perception of a charioteer as a friend of sorcerers 99 must have been widespread. Magical associations, along with class biases and distrust of the mob, helped to shape the negative discourse about spectacle. Pre-Christian and secular authors like Polybius and Cicero contributed to the early discourse on spectacle, and helped to form the literary tradition towards distaste for spectacle and distrust of the vulgar masses that enjoyed the games. Polybius’ moralizing history shunned the excesses of Roman spectacle, the influence of the vulgar mob, and the inappropriate behavior that sometimes occurred at the games. At the same time, he did not disparage Greek athletic contests, like the Olympic Games, which seemed to have less of a passive spectator atmosphere, and more of a participatory nature. Cicero was nonplussed by popular spectacle on a number of levels. He disliked having to fund them, as an aedile. He found them unentertaining, and associated the persistence of spectacle to the ignorance of the masses. Cicero’s wide postmortem literary influence surely influenced later authors in forming their opinions about spectacle. While spectacles continued and even grew in popularity after the beginning of the Empire, later authors continued the discourse on spectacle. Livy included depictions of many spectacles and triumphs in his history, and was not a deliberate critic of spectacle. He did however, include a chariot race in his version of the mythic Rape of the Sabines. Spectacle served as Nero’s tutor and stoic philosopher Seneca was an articulate critic of spectacle. He clearly asserted that the crowds at the spectacles were a polluting influence on the soul. Thus, he did not seem to take issue with the actual games, whether they were chariot racing or gladiatorial matches, but instead with the vulgar masses gathered together to watch the games. Writing shortly after Seneca, authors Tacitus, Suetonius and Plutarch disparaged emperors, especially Nero, Claudius and Caligula, by associating these emperors with love of spectacles like chariot racing or gladiatorial matches. Certainly, these authors were significantly different in style and emphasis, and all three had other criticisms of emperors. Nonetheless, all three used love of spectacle as evidence of pandering and moral degradation in emperors. This literary convention of spectacle invective grew out of the traditional negative discourse about spectacle. Despite different political and social contexts, late antique authors joined the negative discourse on spectacle with stark denunciations of spectacle in the tradition of their forbearers. In the fourth century, Ammianus Marcellinus deliberately insulted the vulgar 100 denizens of Rome as little more than mouth-breathing, drunken, circus-obsessed simpletons. In the sixth century, Procopius of Caesaria accused the circus factions of child rape and blamed the near collapse of the Eastern Roman Empire on Emperor Justinian’s association with the factions. In his demonizing invective, Procopius also explicitly associated Justinian and Theodora with circus magic in an attempt to make the imperial couple appear both common and demonic. Other authors were not as passionate in their disdain for the circus. Cassiodorus, who later became a Christian monk, but who ghostwrote letters for King Theodoric, referred to the chariot racing spectacles of Ostrogothic Italy as popular folly, but acquiesced to the practice because of its political utility. Christian writers too contributed to the discourse on spectacle, and the contributions often took a negative tone. Tertullian famously denounced spectacles as sinful in his second century treatise On the Public Shows. Tertullian lived while Christian martyrs were still being put to death in public shows. Tertullian may have even edited a famous martyr autobiography from Perpetua, an early Christian woman martyr from North Africa. Tertullian’s arguments against the public spectacles were therefore passionate, but he organized them rationally as well. His first argument was against the pagan origins of the games. This argument can be seen as a new Christian line of attack in the spectacle discourse. His second argument was against the unholy passions aroused during the games, hearkening back to Seneca’s argument against the games. This second argument shows a link between the Christian authors and their predecessors, with respect to spectacle criticism and denunciation. The link between the Christian arguments against spectacle to Seneca’s, also implies a subtle connection to the inherent elitism that Seneca espoused. Augustine of Hippo, writing in the fourth century, improved upon Tertullian’s arguments against public spectacle, calling the games idolatrous and blaming the lazy, spectacle-loving culture of pagan Rome for the military sack of Rome in 410 CE. Augustine’s work, like Cicero’s before him, was highly influential around the Latin-speaking world. His strong denunciation of public spectacle surely held weight with Christian moralists in the west. Later Christian critics of spectacle tended to echo Augustine’s arguments, although the Church writ large never explicitly forbade spectacle attendance. The Theodosian Code did outlaw public spectacles on Sundays, a curious development that offers a clue to the morally ambiguous place that spectacles and the raucous subculture associated with it held in 101 the Christian Roman Empire. Individual bishops set the tone for their flocks regarding spectacle. The bishop Salvian of Marseille wrote vehemently against spectacle in the fifth century, using similar lines of argument as Augustine. Conversely, Sidonius of Apollinarus, another fifth-century Gallic bishop celebrated in a letter to his friend the great joy he experienced at a chariot race. Barring bold-faced hypocrisy from Sidonius, chariot racing spectacles must have been acceptable entertainment for Christians in Sidonius’ bishopric. Sidonius seems to be the exception to the rule in Christian authors’ opinions on spectacle. Isidore of Seville, an early seventh-century Iberian bishop wrote dismissively about spectacle entertainments in his Etymologies. In all, he echoed the crux of Augustine’s arguments, and declared the games sinful pagan entertainments. From the complaints and criticisms of these aristocratic authors, today much can be learned about Roman culture. The spectacle subculture, with its shadowy, magical overtures provides a clue as to how seriously the populous and the participants took their spectacles. The professional collection of magical materials is testament to the complexity and sophistication of the sorcerer’s craft. Beyond that, the sorcerer was a shadowy figure, who brought more suspicion and scorn upon the spectacle subculture. Aristocratic authors must have felt threatened by the mysterious power of the sorcerer. Their power structure, whether religious or not, was undermined by the magic that a sorcerer brought to bear. The circus represented some of their worst fears: the uncontrolled will of the people, a toppling of the social order, and magical uncertainties. The discourse perpetuated over hundreds of years, but it did not serve to destroy the institution of spectacle. Over time, spectacle changed. Gladiatorial bouts faded after the fifth century or so. Greek style Olympic Games disappeared shortly after. The circus factions took greater and greater control over the management of entertainment. Still, the aristocratic authors bemoaned the folly of the spectacle. Spectacle provided the Roman populous with entertainment, to be sure. It also provided the populous with power. First, the assembled populous learned to act as one, following the chants and exhortations of the claques. Even emperors felt the duty to respond to their chanting crowds. Beyond the power of their combined voice, an assembled crowd could be a real threat. The Nika Revolt of 532 nearly toppled Justinian. Still, the institution of spectacle continued, after a short hiatus. 102 Ancient Romans both loved and despised public spectacle. From the city’s founding through the many changes and tribulations of republic, empire, and conversion, chariot racing and spectacle remained integral parts of Roman culture. There must have been something truly special to a Roman about the gathering together as a community to cheer at a race. NASCAR today may make a fair comparison to chariot racing: Enormous, raucous crowds gathered together to watch a single man attempt to control too much horsepower on a 180 degree left turn. And like today’s NASCAR, there was a class element to the races. Many upper class Romans despised the spectacle, the crowds and the folly of it all. Critics perceived spectacle as a grand distraction from the more important concerns of life, whether politics to Cicero, or religion to Augustine. There must have been plenty of unnamed men and women who loved the distraction of chariot racing and spectacle. The glory of victory must have been intoxicating: the lowly charioteers or other performers transformed themselves from slaves to heroes in front of the eyes of the entire city. A victorious charioteer must have been a sight, waving a palm frond of victory to an adoring crowd in the waning sunlight. That transformation from lowly charioteer to adored hero must have inspired the crowd to thoughts of release from the daily cares of the world. 103 REFERENCES Apollinarus, Sidonius. “To Consentius.” In Poems and Letters, chapter xxiii. Translated by W. B. Anderson. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1936. http://www.archive.org/stream/poemsletterswith01sidouoft/poemsletterswith01sidouo ft_djvu.txt. Augustine of Hippo. 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