Festivals and entertainments

Menno Fenger and Paul Henman

in Rome in Late Antiquity

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print September 2000 | ISBN: 9780748612390
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651009 | DOI:
Festivals and entertainments

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This chapter shows that the rites and festivals of Roman religion were still very much alive during the fourth century. Contrary to a widespread misconception, festivals of Christianity did not replace pagan ones, but were interspersed among them, adding their dates to those of the old festivals. The Calendar of 354 clearly shows the juxtaposition of the ancient festivals with those of Christianity. Imperial celebrations alone thus represented a little over sixty days of games in the calendar. Games, presented by magistrates taking up office or by benefactors as an entertainment greatly appreciated by the populace, were nevertheless a political lever for the Roman élite. The chapter also states the opposition to circus games by the Fathers of the Church, Theodosius and Honorius.

Keywords: festivals; religion; Christianity; Calendar of 354; games; calendar; circus; adventus; Theodosius; Honorius

Chapter.  3651 words. 

Subjects: Classical History

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