Roman and American Entertainment
Everyone around the world has similar versions of entertainment. Entertainment is the amusement one receives through an event or a series of actions. Modern-day entertainment has changed vastly since the ancient times, but the base idea of each style has remained consistent with past. Ancient Rome and modern-day America have parallels in their forms of entertainment which include: sports, theater, and music.
The Ancient Romans preferred their entertainment to be filled with violence and gore, as seen in sports. One popular form of sports were chariot races, in which they were very intense and expensive. There were several types of races which included a regular race to the finish to the last chariot that was upright. People were viciously murdered in these races for the sake of entertainment and took place in big arenas that held many people known as circuses. I can compare this form of entertainment to todays NASCAR races in which people race to the finish line after a series of laps. Race cars crash into walls and sometimes tumble over, causing many injuries and potentially a fire could erupt. Moreover, people do not shy away from the amount of chaos that is seen in the races, but rather some enjoy them. These races are held in large stadiums that hold thousands of people, just like the circuses for the Ancient Romans. Another popular form of sports were gladiator fights. Gladiator fights took place in areas known as amphitheaters in which the most well-known is the Colosseum that is still standing today. Furthermore, the amphitheaters had different landscapes in which animals/people would fight on so that it could create multiple versions of warfare. They included being flooded with water or filled with sand. The gladiator fights too, involved much violence and young deaths of people as they would involve people fighting against one another. I can compare the Ancient Roman sports to football and wrestling because these two modern-day sports involve physical violence: men tackling each other for the sake of getting a ball/proving strength. In addition, many people pay to watch their favorite team or player in large arenas/fields, just like the Ancient Romans. In wrestling, there are different versions of fights (cage matches, ladder fights, etc.) and the victor is declared when the opponent is down, like gladiator fights. Personally, I view chariot races and gladiator fights as completely barbaric and inhumane because so many people are dying a painful death at the hands of these games, but to the Ancient Romans, they viewed these sports as suitable and entertaining.
In addition to sports, Ancient Romans loved watching performances (theater) for entertainment. The most popular genre of performance art was comedy, but tragedy too, was a well-known genre. The Ancient Romans derived their comedic performances from the Ancient Greeks, especially from the Hellenistic period. One of the first familiarized Roman comic playwright was Plautus in which he relied on farce, the comedy of exaggerated and unusual situations, as it was a style that pleased the Ancient Romans like for coarse humor. Another innovator of Roman comedies was Terence, in which he included more interesting double plots and developed characters than usual. I believe that these comedies entertained many civilians, including the higher class and lower class. Seneca, a vital Roman tragedian, produced plays that were more sensational and moralistic, such as the Oedipus. However, the Ancient Romans tended to like the comedic performances rather than the tragedies because I think that the comedies were more light-hearted and simpler to understand, especially for those who were not educated. Moreover, the Ancient Romans wore wigs and masks when they performed on stage which is very similar to American actors/actresses. I can compare Ancient Roman theater to modern-day America as today, we still produce plays and performances for people to enjoy. Comedies and tragic genres are still widely appreciated, but we also have more styles of theater. I believe that the average American would choose to watch a comedy over a tragic performance because of its lightness and laughter. In addition, we have television and movies that showcase performances/dramas. I believe the Ancient Romans enjoyed theater as much as we Americans enjoy television, movies, and theater performances.
The Ancient Romans appealed to music as well for entertainment. Music accompanied other forms of entertainment and was used at banquets. Identical to theater, the Ancient Romans adapted Greek forms and instruments. The Romans believed that music brings an emotional effect upon the listener. Some instruments include a tuba, horn, hydraulis, aulos, and cithara. The tuba was a long, straight trumpet and the horn can be compared to modern-days French horn. An organ-like instrument that had a wide harmonic range with vibrant tones was known as the hydraulis. The aulos was a series of pipes and the cithara was a large twelve-stringed lyre. These instruments were sometimes played together, like an orchestra, for musical entertainment. America today, has many instruments that are very similar to the Ancient Romans, such as the French horn, trumpet, organ, lyre, flute, and harp. We also have many more instruments that have been created since the past. Americans play instruments for entertainment as well, like in orchestras, bands, or even operas. Furthermore, instruments are utilized for background music and at parties/banquets. In my opinion, I believe that music played a major role in the lives of the Ancient Romans as it continues to do so today in America and around the world.
The Ancient Romans and modern Americans are more identical than we have ever thought before. Sports still contain the same amount of violence and gore, especially in NASCAR racing and wrestling. Theater performances still occur to this day, with the addition of television and cinema. Many people in America become musicians and are involved in an orchestra or band. Music is accompanied at events and can played for ones own amusement. From my perspective, entertainment has not changed since the beginning of time, it has only been modified to become different versions of the same idea.