Write a journal or idea or concept in the reading was most interesting to you? Why?
•Did the reading help you to understand the people, culture and religion of the ancient Roman Empire? Why? Why not?
•Your general comments about the reading.
•If you could say one thing, or ask one question, of Ovid, what would it be?
The purpose of these journal entries is for you to engage and interact with the readings. I’m interested in your ideas, your reactions, your thoughts. Grading focuses on completeness rather than content (provided you make an effort to answer the questions thoughtfully).
If you quote or paraphrase from a research source other than the course materials, use an informal citation (title, author, page, webpage) in parentheses. Failure to do this is plagiarism and will earn 0 points.
This week we’re going to talk about “Bread and Circuses.” No, not the kind of circus which comes into town once a year… but entertainments put on all year long for the populace of ancient Rome in the time of the Roman Empire — chariot races, gladiator bouts, sea battle re-enactments in flooded amphitheaters, battle re-enactments, throwing prisoners and enemies of the state to wild animals — in places like the Circus Maximus in Rome.
The “bread” was literally that — bread would be distributed to those who could not afford to buy it. A little history reminder here: Rome’s territorial expansion brought prisoners of war to the city; the prisoners of war were bought and used as field labor on large farms by those who could afford them, the patricians. As a result, the small farmers could not compete with the cheap grain being produced on the latifundia, and many were forced to sell or abandon their farms. And where did they go? They went to Rome, to be part of the huge common population, who were given bread daily.
The idea behind keeping people fed and entertained is that with food in their bellies, the common population is less likely to rebel; the entertainment serves to distract them from their problems, again making them less likely to rebel.
Consider Karl Marx’s statement — “Religion is the opium of the masses.” Now substitute “bread and circuses” for “religion,” and you should get a sense of the function of food and entertainment in the Roman Empire.
Okay, now substitute “the internet, movies, television” for “religion” or “bread and circuses.”
Do you think the internet, movies and television serve the same function today as bread and circuses did in Ancient Rome? To keep people distracted from the larger issues, keep them satisfied, keep them pacified? To keep them in their place?
Write at least one paragraph, of at least five sentences, answering this question.
To get full credit, respond to one of your classmate’s posts. Make sure to put the name of the person you’re responding to in your post to them.
I would prefer you use your own ideas, but if you quote or paraphrase from research sources other than the course material, use an informal citation (author, title, page, webpage) in parentheses. Failure to do this is plagiarism, and will earn 0 points.
In my opinion “religion, bread and circuses” is comparable to “the internet, movies, television”. Reason being is that in ancient times if one did not follow a certain religion one could risk being killed for not practicing that religion. Many also suffered from not having enough or no food, so a place like Rome who provided bread daily could persuade a person to endure the ways of life in Rome. Circuses or entertainment is not essential for a healthy life, but if it is presented of course one may rather see a spectacle to escape or have one ignore more important matters. “the internet, movies, television” can also be described as “religion” or “bread and circuses”. Some cites on the internet can lack credibility. When one is researching the web specifically with school work one is advised to review different cites to compare their information. Movies can also portray a certain way of living and beliefs that can promote ones ways. Television is the largest outlet to promote good and bad news. This outlet does not only provide news that is happening in your own state but news from around the world. This can ultimately cause you to believe or view a certain neighborhood or race as what they have presented on television.