Games and History, Free Essay Sample

Published: 2022-02-22
Games and History, Free Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Term paper
Categories: History Games
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1910 words
16 min read

The history of ancient civilizations is quite complex and different scholarly articles give contrasting information about what was taking place throughout the period. Indeed, a lot of information is in patches since the various pieces of literature cover crucial periods that give exciting revelations about the cultures. The Roman world from 753 BCE to 500 CE is among the most studied periods in history with a lot of conflicting information about how the city came to be, its people, political organization, and socioeconomic activities among other areas. Its history is expansive, and a critical analysis of how games tell its history shows a significant difference from what its history entails.

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As it stands, Rome is undoubtedly among the victorious imperial powers in the world's history. Emerging from a small town to become a vast empire in centuries is something laudable albeit the challenges involved in the process. The Roman world showed excellence in economic, political, and social institutions courtesy to the robust military ethos that governed various states. To an extent, games depict that incessant warfare was a part of Rome's success as an imperial power. While this assertion may appear correct on the outset, the Roman world primarily succeeded by incorporating conquered people into its social and political systems (Saller et al., 2019).

From 753 BCE to 500 CE, the Roman world engaged in many games that speak a lot about its social, political, and economic situation. Indeed, using the games as the point of reference when analyzing the historical context of the people during this time might take everything out of context. Firstly, games show that the Roman world had highly segregated structures on matters regarding gender incorporation. As Fife (2012) suggests, a significant portion of Ancient Roman life revolved around negotium; this refers to work and business. In spite of that, time for otium (leisure) was available and incorporated a lot of activities which can tell a lot about the socio-political systems.

Apart from gladiatorial games, Fife (2012) asserts that the Roman world had recreational facilities such as Campus Martius that gave the youths of Rome a floodplain to engage in different playing activities and sports. Some of them included wrestling and boxing, jumping, and racing, throwing. Different from the situation experienced today, women had no chance of participating in these activities. It is such cultural depiction that leads to the conclusion that society had a highly segregated structure.

Regarding the connection between history and games, they (games) also show how much the Roman world was embedded in symbols during such times. The inference, here, is that some games and their avenues symbolized power. In so doing, they depict a culture that passed its philosophy from one generation to the next symbolically. A suitable example of these symbols was the Colosseum which served as the emperor's gift to the Romans. Despite being primarily being used an amphitheater, -where the gladiatorial contests took place- it also acted as a symbol of power and majesty since its inception in 80 CE where some games took almost 100 days to end.

Apart from games showing a segregated society and one that was highly symbolic, they also depict the Roman world as a culture that was highly centralized but insensitive. Despite wrestling and boxing being popular, others were extreme; they show that Romans loved highly volatile engagements. For instance, they loved chariot races such as the Circus Maximus. To some extent, the reason for engaging in such encounters was to observe a cultural aspect as well as satisfying the urge for games that can attract a large number of audiences as a mark of someone's power.

As a culture rich in history, games also give the impression that the Roman world embraced high-risk and abusive contests. Despite Fife (2012) asserting that many games were there for leisure, the extent of risk was great and not understandable at some point. A perfect example is what happened during gladiatorial games. Gladiators, who fought for their freedoms, were mainly slaves and criminals. If that is not the case, they were prisoners of war. Considering that the contests involved mass murder and deadly animals such as bears and rhinos in some instances, they have a lot to tell about the history of the Roman world.

From the reviews of what games meant in the ancient Roman world, it is right deducing that they were an integral part of people's history. Public entertainment was highly revered as something to keep the people content and prevent uprisings (Fife, 2012). For that reason, there was still some discontent in the political organization hence the need to keep people focused in a way that could not lead to revolts. Chariot races and theatrical performances were some of the most applied strategies to control the public. On the extreme, public executions and beast hunts also took place.

So far, it is justified to deduce that games show only one side of what was happening in the Roman world. That is, they focus on social organizations that kept people together and how the political class took advantage of the games to establish their control. To this end, they give shallow information about the historical development of the Roman world and how the culture developed or declined over time. Games do not also admit any flaws that can affect the accuracy of the information required. Therefore, it is essential to examine other areas that give an accurate picture of the actual history of the Roman world from 753 BCE to 500 CE.

Despite the games depicting the Roman world as a simple organization of people that focused on things that mostly fostered unity, they give a different picture of what was happening in those times. Around 700BC, Italy had different cultures and languages were different too. Games were part of life, but agriculture and animal husbandly were some of the main activities that people used to support themselves particularly the ones that lived in small towns (Saller et al., 2019).

It is challenging to get full information about the history of the Roman world. One of the reasons behind this problem is inadequate documentation of the early events that transformed the region in critical times such as the regal period and the early public. Historical accounts of Rome do not have original written reports until compilation started taking place at later dates. More so, the Greek historians did not give the Roman world the attention it deserved when it came to the recording of its essential historical concepts. Indeed, nothing about the history of ancient Rome started until it completely conquered Italy.

Still, after full preservation of history that can tell about what was taking place, the ancient historians faced difficulties in ascertaining the truth about what was taking place during those times. The religious records that historians could have used to retrieve information about actual events did not contain a full outline of the significant events (Saller et al., 2019). With many ancient historians fleshing out little material that was also native and in Greek folklore, it was challenging to get the actual data about what took place. Above all, patriotic and face-saving reinterpretations affected the originality of information since they exaggerated truths and suppressed embarrassing facts.

A perfect example of an embarrassing fact is how people suffered during the gladiatorial games. On one end, they are depicted as ordinary events where criminals and prisoners of war were fighting for their freedom. More so, they were a form of entertainment that brought masses together as the records show. However, they contained a lot of unrecorded human suffering, painful and antagonizing moments, and unjustified deaths. Still, the culprits were from different communities from the organizations and their social classes didn't have the power to defend them too. With such skewed data, it is difficult to interpret anything correctly from what the games showed.

As a way of showing how the history of the Roman world was complicated and left out a lot of crucial information when using games as the reflection point, several historical events can illustrate how the societies were highly structured and how they evolved among other essential elements. As one looks at the myths surrounding Rome's foundation, Saller et al. (2019) suggest that Greeks did not capture anything serious about the Roman world until the Pyrrhic War. They were aware of its existence before that time, but there is a possibility of information fabrication as time advanced and recording took place.

According to Saller et al. (2019), many false myths about the foundation of Rome contrast reality too. For instance, Greeks as early as 5th century BC onward provided over 25 fables that illustrated how the Roman world came to be. Among the most popular myth was the connection between Rome and Troy (Greek destruction) that flattered Romans to the extent of readily incorporating it as their folklore about how their city began. Unfortunately, archeological evidence for Early Rome is highly scattered, thereby making it difficult to carry out the extensive excavation of information about the city's cultural activities among other things that can give actual information about it.

Much of the evidence is ambiguous, and it is challenging to correlate it to the ancient literary tradition. Records show that the earliest settlements were simple villages of thatched hats mainly found in the Palatine Hill. For this reason, there is no way a succession of only seven kings could have ruled Rome. Due to these controversies in the records, it is highly challenging to come up with exclusive information about the history of the Roman world as well as its social, political, and religious structures.

Some of the historical facts that games cannot reveal about the Roman world is its expansion. Around 670-660BC, the Palatine settlement started gradual increase connecting with the valley of later Forum Romanum. This expansion allowed Palatine to grow into a town of artisans that lived with stone foundations. From this development, trading activities emerged, and the rate of growth intensified due to Etruscan and Greek influence (Saller et al., 2019). The main items of trade included pottery and architecture due to the presence of Greeks and Etruscans. A majority of the local work also took place under their influence and benefitted people in numerous ways.

A crucial part of the Roman world's history that is difficult to capture from games and similar activities is about the actual foundation of the Rome republic. As a region that came to be the center of competition and commerce, historians describe the different characters of the rulers. According to (Saller et al., 2019), the first six kings were benevolent and embraced justice. However, the last one was cruel and could only ascend to power after killing his predecessor. Some of his ruthless aspects included terrorizing the leadership and oppressing the ordinary people. A historical review of what was happening shows systematic system changes from benevolent to tyrannical rule and vice versa; concentration on games and their organizations revealed little information on this area.

As the Roman world grew in size and power, new institutions and offices became essential. During the early republic (509-280 BC) creation of these facilities took place as a way of matching the rising military, social, and political needs (Saller et al., 2019). Other factors that necessitated this expansion included the changing economic needs as well as increasing population size. The political struggle between the patricians and plebeians required such developments after lasting for over...

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