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    Bread and Games - William Vean

    'Panem et Circenses', Bread and Games were essential for keeping the citizens of ancient Rome in check. While the bread was meant for the poorest among the Romans, the Games were Popular Pastime Number One for everybody.There were different kinds of games, such as chariot races (especially popular with female spectators), or wild-beast fights, where lions, tigers, bulls or bears were set on one another or even on human beings. Most popular, however, were the Gladiator fights. In 'Bread and Games' William Vean depicts one of the many fights in the antique Colosseum. 1. Entrance of the Gladiators: By powerful bugle-calls the attention of the people was asked for, after which the Gladiators entered the Arena at the sound of heroic marching-music.2.Swordfight: We can hear that the fights were not mere child's play in this part.On the contrary, they were a matter of life and death and were fought accordingly.3.Mercy of the Emperor: Sometimes a wounded gladiator could be fortunate, depending on the mercy of the audience. Waving one's handkerchief meant mercy, a turned-down thumb meant no pardon. The Emperor had the right to take the final decision, but he usually complied with the wish of the majority of the public. 4.Lap of Honour: Gladiators were mainly selected among slaves, convicted criminals, or prisoners of war. Consequently, winning was very important, as it would mean fame, honour and sometimes even wealth. A lap of honour, therefore, was the winner's due reward.

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