CC 302
Lecture 24 Images
Updated 4/23/2008


Lecture 24: Decline and Fall, Bread and Circuses, and the End of CC 302

    I. Specialist theories

a. too much lead and you're dead
b. too much hot bathwater and you're sterilized

II. Some grand historical theories

a. Oswald Spengler: The Decline of the West
b. Arnold Toynbee: challenge and response
c. Edward Gibbon: immoderate greatness
d. Paul Kennedy: imperial overstretch

III.         Gladiators in perspective (cf. Course Packet, pp. 199-203)

            A.  origins and development of games; some operative terms:
            pollice verso, missus, sine missione, ferrum recipere, habet!,
            Th(anatos)

            B.  equipment categories (e.g. Thracian, retiarius); balance of protective
            gear and vulnerability

            C.  the psychology behind it (Etruscans; cruel fathers; lack of expansionist wars, etc.);
                  affirmation of Roman values: courage, death defiance, clemency;

                  does viewing violence lead to violent behavior?

            D.  Gladiator to the Max(imus): the essence of Roman civilization?

IV.       The real deal:  chariot racing - the Roman world’s premier attraction (see Course Packet, pp. 203-207)
            reality check: real chariots vs. 900 pound chariots in movies
            fan mania, incl., of course, Caligula; circus riots (Constantinople)

V.       A final parallel: the US and Rome as entertainment addicts; organized mayhem as part of civilization
            but not identical with decline and fall

NEXT TUESDAY: Minilecture on US/Rome parallels; course evaluation (bring #2 pencil); discussion of
possible essay topics.