News Update

Violence Enters Politics

My dearest Romans, an issue that we have been facing for quite sometime has come to our attention. What we mean is violence in politics. Now we speak of Spartacus, the slave who now leads the revolt. He deserted the army, was outlawed, captured, sold into slavery, and trained at the gladiatorial school of Batiatus in Capua. In 73 BCE Spartacus escaped with 70-80 gladiators, seizing the knives in the cook's shop and a wagon full of weapons. They camped on Vesuvius and were joined by other rural slaves, overrunning the region with much plunder and pillage, although Spartacus apparently tried to restrain them.

The Senate sent a praetor, Claudius Glaber , against the rebel slaves with about 3000 raw recruits quickly drafted from the region. They thought they had trapped the rebels on Vesuvius, but Spartacus led his men went down the other side of the mountain using vines, they fell on the rear of the soldiers, and routed them. Spartacus defeated two forces of legionary cohorts; he wanted to lead his men across the Alps to escape from Italy, but the Gauls and Germans, led by Crixus, wanted to stay and plunder. They then separated from Spartacus.

and now in 72 BCE Spartacus has raised about 70,000 slaves, mostly from rural areas. The Senate, alarmed, has sent the two consuls each with two legions, against the rebels. The Gauls and Germans, separated from Spartacus, were defeated by Publicola, and Crixus has been killed. Spartacus defeated Lentulus, and then Publicola; to avenge Crixus, Spartacus had 300 prisoners from these battles fight in pairs to the death. we are left wondering what lies next in the trials of Spartacus, will he ever die/ or will Rome continue to lose embarrassingly to this slave? stay tuned!

The Rise of Octavian

Caesar's nineteen-year-old great-nephew, Gaius Octavius Thurinus,

entered Rome to claim his inheritance. Caesar's will had named him chief heir and adopted him as his son, making his name now Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus. His claim was not well received by Antony, but after many machinations on both sides they eventually reconciled, at least on the surface.

Octavian, Antony, and Lepidus formed an official three-man government, called “the second triumvirate”; in order to silence opposition and raise money, they carried out bloody proscriptions, executing significant numbers of senators and equestrians, including the great orator Cicero, against whom Antony was particularly vindictive.

Antony and Octavian, leading 19-20 legions, met the 19 legions of Brutus and Cassius at Philippi in Greece. After the victory at Philippi, Octavian returned to Rome, but Antony left on a triumphal tour through Greece and the East; he planned to organize and supply an army to invade Parthia, the military campaign Caesar was preparing before he was assassinated.

Let the Gladiatiors Begin!

Like chariot racing, contests of gladiators probably originated as funeral ; these contests were much less ancient than races, however. The first recorded gladiatorial combat in Rome occurred when three pairs of gladiators fought to the death during the funeral of Junius Brutus in 264 BCE, though others may have been held earlier.

Gladiatorial contests, like chariot races, were originally held in large open spaces with temporary seating; there is evidence that some munera were held in the Roman Forum, for example. As the games became more frequent and popular, there was need for a larger and more permanent structure. Although the Circus Maximus was often pressed into service because of its huge seating capacity the Romans constructed a building specifically for the fights called an amphitheater, and later the Colosseum.

In the Colosseum when the trapdoors were closed, this subterranean area must have been very dark and frightening, echoing with the roaring of caged animals and the cries of prisoners awaiting execution in the arena. The top story of the Colosseum was equipped with posts to which were attached a huge awning that would shield the spectators from the hot sun. Seating in the amphitheater was arranged by rank, with a special box for the emperor and his family and ring-side seats for senators.

Theater Review

When I went the the theater i wasn't sure what to expect. I had gone to see a drama, which had been influenced greatly by the Greeks, although drama was quite popular other genre such as Tragedies, and comedies are becoming increasingly popular mostly written by Plautus and Terence. The theater was constructed temporary wooden constructions put up and then taken down when the performance was over.

Classic dramas are written in poetic meters and performed by all-male actors wearing masks, usually during various religious festivals. Since there were no female actresses, often times the Romans would fond a "pretty boy" or a boy who looked feminine to take the role. This show in particular was quite wonderful.

This drama had much emotion that the spectators could harness and absorb. the hero had betrayed his loving wife for his best friends wife. When the wife of the other man had requested the hero leave his wife, his had refused, angry, the other woman proceeded to kill her husband and come back to the hero's house with an attempt to kill his. having no other option the hero stepped in front of the other woman to shield his wife while stopping the other woman in the process. All emotions were felt during this drama! splendid job!