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Gladiatoral Games - Execution phase was not that popular?

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It seems from the evidence that the execution phase was not popular with everyone. Remember that the arena would be largely empty, since many spectators had left for lunch.

Seneca, in a famous letter, expresses horror at what he saw going on during the executions, when he happened to stop by a gladiatorial show at lunchtime.

He expressly says that the place was practically empty. The biographer Suetonius cites the emperor Claudius

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Execution phase not popular? I doubt it was intended to be. That was about justice enacted in public view. It was sometimes made entertaining in a way that insulted or demeaned the individual sentenced (thus for instance criminals might be asked to knide another then pass the knife to the next, or tied to a post and attacked by wild animals, an unworthy death and humiliating in the sense that no-one will assist, or the anecdote about a woman put inside a wooden cow with a sexually deprived bull let loose in the arena - you can sort of imagine the idea)


In modern perspectives it isn't entertaining at all. For the Romans, it was a sense f justice linked to irony or pathos, and done in the arena to the public can see that justice has been committed, creating both a carthatic experience and a deterrence against the behaviour that got the individuals so accused. There is also the view that it demonstrated the power of the Roman state. There is no escape from justice, and we're going to show you why.


We also have to realise that although the typical Roman was more used to death and accident in their own enviroment, there were still going to be people among them with humane leanings. So the fact Seneca is upset isn't suprising. What suprises me was that he went to an arena expecting some light entertaiment and was appalled by the killing he witnessed. Surely that was the norm?

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