The Day Commodus Killed a Rhino: Understanding the Roman Games

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It is amazing the numbers needed. The book concludes with the idea of the games, what it meant to be Roman, and how the games reinforced this idea and then how the Christians undermined it by being more passive than fierce. The author makes his point that the games were more than blood and guts, but bloody they were. After editing at City Book Review for a few years, I took up the duties of editorial assistant, which include assigning books for review, posting reviews to our various sites, and nagging reviewers for things.

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My answer to every book-related question: read Octavia Butler. Your email address will not be published. Notify me of new posts by email. Kobo ebook. Available for download Not available in stores. Out of stock online Not available in stores. Outlining the personal characteristics that have made the Romans the most successful people in….

The Roman emperor Commodus wanted to kill a rhinoceros with a bow and arrow, and he wanted to do it in the Colosseum. Roman Disasters by Jerry Toner. Ships within weeks Not available in stores. Roman Disasters looks at how the Romans coped with, thought about, and used disasters for their own ends.

Rome has been famous throughout history for its great triumphs. Yet Rome also suffered colossal disasters. From the battle of Cannae, where fifty thousand…. A seventeenth-century English traveler to the Eastern Mediterranean would have faced a problem in writing about this unfamiliar place: how to describe its inhabitants in a way his countrymen would understand? In an age when a European education meant mastering…. Pre-order online Not available in stores.

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Departing from Rome, he sets off on an expedition around the Mediterranean, showing us the highlights, and some of the lowlights, of the Roman world. He explores…. The ancient world used the senses to express an enormous range of cultural meanings. Indeed the senses were functionally significant in all aspects of ancient life, often in ways that were complex and interconnected.

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Marcus Sidonius Falx is een…. L'art de gouverner ses esclaves by Jerry Toner. The maintenance of these physical ties to the mythological figure linked Commodus to the gods, allowing him to claim a divine status and power to serve his position. On the day of the games, however, Commodus chose a white silk tunic to greet the Roman senators, who were too terrified of him not to attend. He took note of their attendance and would later threaten them with the head of an ostrich — shaking the bloodied appendage at them in a silent promise.

He wore a purple tunic with gold stars and carried a staff like the god's. He stepped out onto the catwalk that had been constructed for him in this attire and the meaning was clear: Commodus would be fleet-footed and agile.

Except there was little sport to be had with the Emperor. He would kill many, many animals in this fashion for the pleasure of the crowd and to assert his dominance over the coming days. He did leave the catwalk occasionally to face the less aggressive animals, like deer. Others were brought before him in nets or presented point-blank.

The crowd was not deterred at all. Games of this nature were common in Roman times. And they were employed artfully by emperors over the years as a display of strength and wealth and generosity. Roman leaders were quite strategic in managing their public persona. They were also used to communicate the virtues being leveraged as symbolic capital for the rulers.


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There are some comparisons to be drawn here against the newly elected American President, Donald Trump. Commodus was also a megalomanic. He also renamed the months of the year to correspond to his names as well. The spectacle had immense appeal.

The Day Commodus Killed a Rhino: Understanding the Roman Games

All eyes are now on Donald Trump as even the international community waits to see what will come from the White House next. Trump is shaping the brand of the presidency with a heavy hand. He entered the White House already branded. The issue is that his brand runs counter to the expectations for the presidential seat. Roman emperors sought to link themselves with Roman virtues as a means of connecting to the people and becoming the embodiment of Rome itself.