Sunday, February 10, 2013

Patronage, Bread, and Circuses

Rome AH: Senatus Populusque Romanus

After the death of Emperor Caligula, the Republic is restored. However, a return to the Republic isn't an end to all powers. Rome has always thrived on. In 45 A.D. in the Eternal City, how far will you go for your goals? And will the Republic endure?


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Rome had a huge income disparity for whatever reason: class, education, opportunity. With such a huge income disparity, the Romans employ a variety of ways to keep the lower classes happy. This included entertainment, free grain distributed by the state, distributions of coin and goods from newly conquered provinces, and patronage of individuals and groups of people.

For entertainment, the Romans held plays within amphitheaters, gladiator battles, executions, pitting gladiators against animals, chariot races in oval-shaped hippodomes, and Triumphs wherein victorious generals paraded through Rome with captive enemies and loot.

Grain was a cheap food source to distribute to the masses for their bread in order to feed those who may not have otherwise made ends meat. This was done as much from charity as from the fact that the poor would riot if they did not have enough food to eat and droughts often caused these riots to occur only for the armed garrison to suppress them.

Of course, entertainment was as much for the Patricians and Equites amusement as the commoners. Every Roman loved gladiator fights until the adoption of Christianity caused the ban of these fights.

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