Fame and shame. Blood and guts. Glory and death. Ancient games and spectacles promised all these and more to the people of ancient Greece and Rome. Spectacles united societies and divided them too. Ancient fans fanatically supported their favourites, but rivalries sometimes led to riots. Ranging from the competitions at the Olympic games in Greece to the spectacles of the Roman Coliseum and the Circus Maximus, this course will examine how spectacles and games functioned in the ancient world, their costs and rewards, and the costs to the humans and animals caught up in them. Over the course of the semester we will investigate the how and why of ancient games, the mechanics of how they were staged and organized, and who fought and competed in them.

Prerequisites: None