HIST 3061: "Bread and Circuses":
Spectacle and Mass Culture in Antiquity
Fall 2007 3 Credits
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 2:30-3:45 pm
Blegen Hall 120
Office: 268 Social Sciences Tower
Telephone: (612) 626-4268
2:30 to 4:00 pm Wednesdays, and by appointment
*Please feel free to e-mail (or call) me at any time. I will make
every effort to respond to your questions and/or concerns in a timely
This course traces the development of large-scale public entertainments
in the ancient Mediterranean world, from the athletic contests of
Olympia and dramatic festivals of Athens to the chariot races and
gladiatorial games of the Roman Empire. Through lecture, discussions,
and readings, we will explore the wider significance of these
spectacles in their impact on the political, social, and economic life
of the societies that supported them.
The following books should be available at the University Bookstore in
ARISTOPHANES, The Birds,
trans. Jeffrey Henderson. (Focus Classical Library, 1999).
CICERO, Selected Political Speeches,
trans. Michael Grant. (Penguin Classics, 1989).
EURIPIDES, Bacchae, trans.
Paul Woodruff. (Hackett Publishing, 1998).
JUVENAL, The Sixteen Satires,
trans. Peter Green. 3rd edn. (Penguin Classics, 1998).
CONNOLLY, Peter & DODGE, Hazel, The
Ancient City: Life in Classical Athens and Rome. (Oxford
University Press, 2000).
FUTRELL, Alison, The Roman Games: A
Sourcebook. (Blackwell Publishing, 2006).
KYLE, Donald G., Sport and Spectacle
in the Ancient World. (Blackwell Publishing, 2007).
MILLER, Stephen G., Arete: Greek
Sports from Ancient Sources. 3rd edn. (University of California
POTTER, David S. & MATTINGLY, David J. (eds.), Life, Death, and Entertainment in the
Roman Empire. (University of Michigan Press, 1999).
There is also a COURSE PACK containing additional required readings,
available from Paradigm Copies, 1501 University (inside the Dinky Dome).
This course will be taught through a combination of readings, lectures,
and discussion. Students are expected to come to class on time
each day, having prepared the assigned readings in advance.
Assessment for the course will take class participation into account.
In addition to the regular lectures and discussions, there will be two
short (4-6 pp.) writing assignments, due in class on October 2 and
November 27. The topics for these papers will relate to the
The midterm (October 16) and required final (December 17) examinations
will include some objective questions (identification of important
people, places, events, etc.), but their primary focus will be on the
students' analytic abilities (essay questions).
The assessment components will be weighted in the calculation of each
student’s final course grade as follows:
Class Participation: 10%
Short Papers: 30%
Midterm Exam: 20%
Final Exam: 40%
Submission of Written Work
All assigned written work for this course should be typed (or
word-processed), in a neat, technically correct format. Poor
mechanics (misspellings, bad grammar, faulty punctuation, etc.) will
have a negative impact on the grade received.
Papers can be handed in at the beginning of class or left in my
departmental mailbox (in 636 Social Sciences, NB: the one below my
name) before that time. If you are unable to attend class for any
reason, you are still responsible for turning in all assignments on
time. LATE WORK WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.
Electronic submission of written work is permitted, but all work will
be graded and returned in hard copy (paper) format. Assignments
submitted via e-mail must be received by 10:00 AM on the due
date. I will acknowledge receipt of anything received by this
time. If you do not get back a message from me confirming that I
have received your paper (and successfully printed it out), you should
bring a printed copy with you to class.
of Topics and Readings
September 4 Introduction: Spectacle, Competition, and
KYLE, introduction, pp. 1-22
September 6 Early Evidence: Spectacle in the Bronze
KYLE, chapters 1 & 2, pp. 23-53
September 11 Heroic Values
KYLE, chapter 3, pp. 54-71
MILLER, #1-2, pp. 1-15
September 13 Panhellenism
KYLE, chapter 4, pp. 72-93
MILLER, #128-146; 224-247, pp. 89-101; 181-191
September 18 Athletic Contests
KYLE, chapters 6, 7 & 11, pp. 110-149; 217-228
MILLER, #3-67; 149-162, pp. 16-54; 105-110
September 20 Festivals of the City-State: Athens
KYLE, chapter 8, pp. 150-179
CONNOLLY & DODGE, pp. 57-89
MILLER, #119-123, pp. 81-85
September 25 Drama I: Tragedy
CONNOLLY & DODGE, pp. 90-101
September 27 Athletes and Aristocrats
KYLE, chapters 9 & 10, pp. 180-216
MILLER, #163a-189; 248-254, pp. 111-152; 192-197
October 2 Democracy and its Performances
*** FIRST PAPER DUE ***
CONNOLLY & DODGE, pp. 22-31
October 4 Drama II: The Politics of Laughter
October 9 Rhetoric
COURSE PACK: Demosthenes, 27. Against Aphobus I
Speeches 27-38, trans. Douglas M. MacDowell (Austin: University
of Texas Press, 2004): pp. 19-39
October 11 Redefining Power in the Hellenistic Age
KYLE, chapter 12, pp. 229-250
MILLER, # 190-193, pp. 153-156
COURSE PACK: Kallixeinos of Rhodes, About
Alexandria, fr. 2
from: E. E. Rice, The Grand Procession of Ptolemy
Philadelphus (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983): pp. 9-25
October 16 *** MIDTERM EXAMINATION ***
October 18 Rome: Res Publica and the Ruling Class
POTTER & MATTINGLY, chapters 1 (A. Hanson) &
2 (M. Gleason), pp. 19-84
CONNOLLY & DODGE, pp. 122-125
October 23 The Orator
CICERO, On the Command of Cnaeus Pompeius, pp. 33-70
COURSE PACK: R. Morstein-Marx, "Setting the Stage"
ch. 2 in Mass
Oratory and Political Power in the
Late Roman Republic (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
October 25 Greek/Roman: Problems of Definition
CICERO, In Defense of Archias, pp. 146-164
October 30 Roman Religious Festivals
POTTER & MATTINGLY, chapter 4 (D. Potter), pp.
CONNOLLY & DODGE, 170-175
November 1 Ludi: Roman Games
KYLE, pp. 251-259
CONNOLLY & DODGE, pp. 176-189
November 6 Two Parades
KYLE, pp. 259-269
COURSE PACK: Plutarch, Aemilius Paullus, chs. 30-34
Lives, trans. R. Waterfield (Oxford: Oxford University Press,
1999): pp. 68-72.
COURSE PACK: Josephus, The Wars of the Jews 7.100-161
of Josephus, trans. W. Whiston (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson
Publishers, 1987): pp. 756-758
COURSE PACK: Polybius, Histories 6.52-56
the Roman Empire, trans. I. Scott-Kilvert (New York: Penguin,
1979): pp. 346-349
COURSE PACK: H. I. Flower, "Ancestors at the
Funeral: The Pompa Funebris"
ch. 4 in Ancestor
Masks and Aristocratic Power in Roman Culture. (Oxford:
Clarendon Press, 1996): pp. 91-127.
Eight, pp. 62-70
November 8 Munera
KYLE, pp. 269-299
FUTRELL, 1-29; 84-119
November 13 Dining in Rome
POTTER & MATTINGLY, chapter 5 (Aldrete and
Mattingly), pp. 171-204
JUVENAL, Satires Five & Eleven, pp. 29-34; 87-92
CONNOLLY & DODGE, 126-133
November 15 City Life
JUVENAL, Satire Three, pp. 14-23
CONNOLLY & DODGE, pp. 134-169
November 20 The Archaeology of Leisure
POTTER & MATTINGLY, chapter 6 (H. Dodge), pp.
CONNOLLY & DODGE, pp. 190-217, 238-247
November 22: Thanksgiving (no lecture)
November 27 Emperor as Patron and
Performer *** SECOND PAPER DUE ***
KYLE, chapter 15, pp. 300-339
FUTRELL, 29-51; 158-159
November 29 The Ambiguities of Spectacle
POTTER & MATTINGLY, chapter 7 (D. Potter), pp.
December 4 Faith on Display: The Martyrs
COURSE PACK: B. D. Shaw, "The Passion of Perpetua"
and Present 139
(1993): pp. 3-45
December 6 Circus Factions
COURSE PACK: Procopius, The Secret History, 6-7
from The Secret History, trans. G. A. Williamson (New York: Penguin,
1981): pp. 68-77
COURSE PACK: M. Whitby, "The Violence of the Circus
from K. Hopwood, ed., Organised
Crime in Antiquity (London: Duckworth, 1999): pp. 229-253
December 11 Concluding Discussion: Spectacle and
Society from Antiquity to Today
*FINAL EXAM: Monday, December 17,
(You must take the final to receive credit for this course)
In compliance with the University of Minnesota Uniform Grading Policy,
letter grades are defined as follows:
A: Represents achievement that is outstanding
relative to the level necessary to meet course requirements.
B: Represents achievement that is significantly
above the level necessary to meet course requirements.
C: Represents achievement that meets the course
requirements in every respect.
D: Represents achievement that is worthy of credit
even though it fails to meet fully the course requirements.
F: Represents failure (or no credit).
The plus (+) or minus (-) may be applied to the above grades as
appropriate. [A+ and D- are not recognized.]
In the case of a substantial grade dispute, you must provide a WRITTEN
justification of why you think the grade is in error within 24 hours
after the paper in question has been returned. You must include a
specific rationale for why you think your answer is correct, or why the
paper deserves a higher grade. Once submitted, final course
grades cannot be changed unless a calculation error has been made.
The grade of “I” (incomplete) may be assigned at the discretion of the
instructor when, due to extraordinary circumstances, a student is
prevented from completing the work of a course in time.
Incomplete coursework is a major inconvenience for students and
instructors, and I expect you to do everything in your power to avoid
this situation. No incompletes will be given unless you have a
prior written agreement with me.
Attendance and Participation
In accordance with University policy, absences for the following
reasons will be excused: documented illness, participation in athletic
events or other group activities sponsored by the University, serious
family emergencies, subpoenas, jury duty, military service, or
religious observances. If you anticipate missing class for any of
these reasons, you should let me know of your situation in
advance. In the case of a last-minute emergency, please let me
know as soon as possible.
You must take the final to receive credit for this course.
I do not plan to offer any extra credit work in this course.
Students with Disabilities
It is University policy to provide, on a flexible and individualized
basis, reasonable accommodations to students who have disabilities that
may affect their ability to participate in course activities or to meet
course requirements. Any student with a documented disability
condition (e.g., physical, learning, psychiatric, systemic, vision,
hearing, etc.) who needs to arrange reasonable accommodations should
let me know of their situation and contact Disability Services at the
beginning of the semester.
Academic integrity is essential to a positive teaching and learning
environment. All students enrolled in University courses are expected
to complete coursework responsibilities with fairness and
honesty. Failure to do so by seeking unfair advantage over others
or misrepresenting someone else’s work as your own can result in
The University Student Conduct Code defines
scholastic dishonesty as follows: “submission of false records of
academic achievement; cheating on assignments or examinations;
plagiarizing; altering, forging, or misusing a University academic
record; taking, acquiring, or using test materials without faculty
permission; acting alone or in cooperation with another to falsify
records or to obtain dishonestly grades, honors, awards, or
Any student responsible for scholastic dishonesty in
this course will be reported to the Student Scholastic Conduct
Committee and may be punished with a grade of F for the course.
terms of this syllabus are subject to change at the instructor’s