Free Essay on Popular Entertainment During the Roman Empire

Published: 2023-03-01
Free Essay on Popular Entertainment During the Roman Empire
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Entertainment Roman Empire Ancient history
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 617 words
6 min read

Although much of life in ancient Rome revolved around work and business, there was also time available for leisure. This involved having time to engage in fun activities that range from swimming to playing board games to attending performances at the theatre, and athletics among other forms of entertainment (Fife). Moreover, the Roman government wanted to keep the idle masses entertained since they knew that a large group of poor people would turn out to be a major threat to their empire. As a result, they turned to various forms of entertainment, most of which were free (""). Some of the popular entertainment during the Roman Empire include:

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Recreation at the Campus Martius. This was a vast floodplain that was a playground for the Roman youth. Here, they took part in various sporting activities that include wrestling, jumping, racing, boxing, and throwing (""). However, Roman women and girls did not take part in these activities.

Swimming was widely practiced in the Tiber River, next to the Campus Martius ("Spartacus Educational"). The sport was among the favorite sporting activities of the Roman boys. Most of the roman baths were equipped with plunge pools, where swimming was enjoyed.

Horseback riding: this sport was preferred among the roman boys from a tender age since every roman was expected to be a good equestrian ("Spartacus Educational").

Wresting and boxing: these were mostly practiced in a central field (Palaestra) of roman baths (""). They helped to build fitness and enhance the overall strength and stamina among the participants.

Running: the roman boys competed in footraces in the Campus Martius.

Hunting and fishing: this sport was popular among the Roman elite, with fathers accompanying their sons on hunting expeditions to teach them marksmanship. It was a good pastime.

Ballgames were also practiced. These entailed sporting activities such as handball, field hockey, soccer, dodge ball, and catch games among others. They were practiced in ball-courts (sphalerite) ("").

Board games: the ancient Romans had a myriad of board games that include Knucklebones (Tali or Tropa), dice (Tesserae), Roman Chess (Latrunculi), Tic-tac-toe (Terni Lapilli), Roman Checkers (Calculi), and Roman backgammon (Tabula).

Public entertainment involved engaging in other several activities with the aim of preventing uprisings. These involved musical and performances at the theatre, chariot races at the Circus Maximus, beast hunts, public executions, and gladiatorial combat. Its famous amphitheater, known as the Colosseum, could lodge up to 50,000 spectators ("").

These games indicate how the Roman Empire valued entertainment and the role it played in developing their culture. They provided platforms to enhance popularity and wealth. The games, i.e., those played in the Roman Arena were paid by wealthy people with the aim of gaining popularity with the people, i.e. Julius Caesar set up large public games and theatre to become very popular ("Spartacus Educational"). Some volunteers would become gladiators while a few of the best gladiators, who survive, would become famous and rich. Some games, i.e., horseback riding indicate the roman culture of being a good equestrian, as the skill was being transferred to the generations as at a tender age. They also indicate their emphasis on the physical and mental toughness through games like wrestling and boxing and board games respectively. They also indicate their culture on how information was passed on from fathers to sons through games like hunting and fishing.

Works Cited

Fife, Steven. "Athletics, Leisure, and Entertainment in Ancient Rome." Ancient History Encyclopedia. 2019. Accessed from

"Spartacus Educational." "The Roman Games." Spartacus Educational. 2019. Accessed from

"" "Gladiators, Chariots, and the Roman Games []." (2019). Accessed from

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