Article

Entertainments, Theatre, And Hippodrome

Elizabeth Jeffreys

in The Oxford Handbook of Byzantine Studies

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780199252466
Published online November 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199252466.013.0063

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History

Entertainments, Theatre, And Hippodrome

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Public performances and spectacles occupied a central place in the Graeco-Roman world, with the most important spectacles held as part of festivals in honor of divinities—including the emperors. Sporting events, plays, recitals, and musical entertainments were presented within a competitive structure, which not only ensured the production of excellence but also emphasized the importance of victory. A circus, or hippodrome, became a mark of an important centre of Roman imperial government, where the emperor, or his representative, would share the excitement with his people. The framework for such entertainments was provided by festivals. It was against this background that Constantine established his city of Constantinople, a central feature of which is a hippodrome linked to the imperial palace. This article describes forms of entertainments staged in theaters and hippodromes from Late Antiquity to Byzantium.

Keywords: entertainments; theaters; hippodromes; Late Antiquity; Byzantium; festivals; spectacles; public performances; Constantine; Constantinople

Article.  3289 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Middle Eastern Languages

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