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lūdī


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The chief uses of this word relate to diverse fields of Roman culture.(1) Religious festivals came to include formalized competitions and displays as a regular component, counting as religious rites just as much as sacrifices and processions. The numbers of days devoted to ludi in Rome increased over time: 57 in the late republic; 77 in the early 1st cent. ad; 177 in the mid‐4th cent. There were three types of ludi. First, ludi circensēs, which consisted of chariot‐racing, held in the circus in the Campus Martius and eventually in the Circus Maximus (which could seat 150,000 people), see circus. Secondly, ludi scaenici, originating in 364 bc as pantomime dances to the pipes, later including plays, first at the Ludi Romani of 240 (see livius andronicus); in 200 Plautus' Stichus was produced at the Ludi Plebeii; in 191 the theatrical Ludi Megalenses were instituted; in 169 Ennius' Thyestēs was performed at the Ludi Apollinarēs, instituted in 208; in 160 Terence's Adelphoe was performed at the funeral games of Aemilius Paullus 2. Under the empire performances chiefly consisted of mime and pantomime. The cost was usually shared between state and presiding magistrate. Admission was free, with special seats designated for senators and others; women and slaves were admitted, but sat separately, at least from Augustus onwards. Plays were staged initially in temporary settings associated with particular sanctuaries, and from the mid‐1st cent bc onwards in permanent theatres (which became increasingly common throughout the empire). Augustus' Secular Games included both the ‘archaic’ games ‘on a stage without a theatre and without seats’, and more ‘modern’ games (in a purpose‐built wooden theatre and in Pompey's theatre). Thirdly, fights involving gladiators and venationes, which under the republic were given under private auspices. Originally they were staged in the Forum and elsewhere, but from 29 bc in the amphitheatre of Statilius Taurus and from ad 80 in the Colosseum (which could seat 50,000, with standing‐room for another 5,000). Outside Rome, specialist amphitheatres were built and, in the Greek world, existing theatres adapted for the safety of the spectators. See amphitheatres; colosseum.(2) Formal and informal games, of which the Romans had at least as many varieties as we do, retaining the practice of some of them even in mature years; the Campus Martius contained a ‘multitude of those exercising themselves with ball and hoop and wrestling’ (Strabo). Ludi, part sport, part pre‐military drill, entered into the routine of the formal associations of young men (see iuvenes), an allegedly ancient institution revived by Augustus.(3) Schools of instruction, also training‐schools for gladiators. There were four training‐schools in Rome (including Ludus Magnus and Ludus Mātūtīnus) for the gladiators who were to perform in the Colosseum. Grammatical and literary instruction, originally in the hands of Greeks, was domesticated by the time of the empire (see grammaticus); training for public life (law, politics) was acquired through apprenticeship until the schools of rhetoric replaced the old tradition. See education, roman.

(1) Religious festivals came to include formalized competitions and displays as a regular component, counting as religious rites just as much as sacrifices and processions. The numbers of days devoted to ludi in Rome increased over time: 57 in the late republic; 77 in the early 1st cent. ad; 177 in the mid‐4th cent. There were three types of ludi. First, ludi circensēs, which consisted of chariot‐racing, held in the circus in the Campus Martius and eventually in the Circus Maximus (which could seat 150,000 people), see circus. Secondly, ludi scaenici, originating in 364 bc as pantomime dances to the pipes, later including plays, first at the Ludi Romani of 240 (see livius andronicus); in 200 Plautus' Stichus was produced at the Ludi Plebeii; in 191 the theatrical Ludi Megalenses were instituted; in 169 Ennius' Thyestēs was performed at the Ludi Apollinarēs, instituted in 208; in 160 Terence's Adelphoe was performed at the funeral games of Aemilius Paullus 2. Under the empire performances chiefly consisted of mime and pantomime. The cost was usually shared between state and presiding magistrate. Admission was free, with special seats designated for senators and others; women and slaves were admitted, but sat separately, at least from Augustus onwards. Plays were staged initially in temporary settings associated with particular sanctuaries, and from the mid‐1st cent bc onwards in permanent theatres (which became increasingly common throughout the empire). Augustus' Secular Games included both the ‘archaic’ games ‘on a stage without a theatre and without seats’, and more ‘modern’ games (in a purpose‐built wooden theatre and in Pompey's theatre). Thirdly, fights involving gladiators and venationes, which under the republic were given under private auspices. Originally they were staged in the Forum and elsewhere, but from 29 bc in the amphitheatre of Statilius Taurus and from ad 80 in the Colosseum (which could seat 50,000, with standing‐room for another 5,000). Outside Rome, specialist amphitheatres were built and, in the Greek world, existing theatres adapted for the safety of the spectators. See amphitheatres; colosseum.

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Subjects: Classical Studies.


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