Monday, May 30, 2011

Social Control During the Roman Empire – Politics

Politics are a central instigator for social control as they set out the guidelines for how a culture is directed. During ancient Rome a number of political themes were in evidence as part of gladiatorial spectacles that exhibited social control. The rhetorician and advocate Fronto (no date) was well aware of the political power of the gladiatorial spectacle. He provides a fascinating insight into the political structure of the time, claiming that:

the human drives that lead men to demand the grain dole are less powerful than those which lead them to desire spectacle (Fronto no date, Letters 2.18.9-17)

Fronto is inferring that the power of spectacle outweighs that of life itself; in order to live the Romans require the grain. This is possibly a slightly exaggerated view point expressed by Fronto, as without life the Roman people would not be able to view the spectacle, however it does provide a useful indication as to how powerful the spectacle could be. In the same letter Fronto (no date, Letters 2.18.9-17) also points out the political significance of the spectacle.

More at TopDocumentation

Enhanced by Zemanta