Bread & Circuses: Euergetism and Municipal Patronage in Roman Italy

Bread & Circuses: Euergetism and Municipal Patronage in Roman Italy

Bread & Circuses: Euergetism and Municipal Patronage in Roman Italy

Bread & Circuses: Euergetism and Municipal Patronage in Roman Italy

Synopsis

Cities in the ancient world relied on private generosity to provide many basic amenities, as well as expecting leading citizens to pay for 'bread and circuses' - free food and public entertainment. This collection of essays by leading scholars from the UK and USA explores the important phenomenon of benefaction and public patronage in Roman Italy.Ranging from the late republican period to the later Roman Empire, the contributions cover a wide range of topics, including the impact of benefactions and benefactors on the urban development of Roman Italy, on cultural and economic activity, and on the changing role of games and festivals in Roman society. They also explore the relationship between communities and their benefactors, whether these were local notables, senators, or the emperor himself, and examine how the nature of benefaction changed under the Empire.

Excerpt

This volume has been a very long time in the making, having started out life as a collection of papers given at a conference, organised by the editors and held at the Institute of Classical Studies, University of London in 1994. It was held as part of the 'Ancient Cities' research project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust and based at University College London, the purpose of which was to document and examine the processes of urbanisation and the nature of urban development in pre-Roman and Roman Italy. The topic of euergetism, benefaction and public patronage is one which is central to our understanding of urban society in the ancient world. These activities had a major influence in shaping civic life, from determining the physical form of the city to influencing many levels of social interaction and behaviour within the city, and mediating relations between communities. The aim of the conference, and of this volume, is to explore these themes in relation to the cities of Roman Italy and to the relationship between these cities and Rome itself. The majority of the chapters reproduced here were offered at the conference, but a significant number of others have been added in order to extend the scope of the volume, and in particular to cover the history of Italy in late Antiquity.

The editors would like to thank the Director and Secretary of the Institute of Classical Studies for their assistance in hosting the conference, the Leverhulme Trust for its generous financial support for the project of which it formed part, and Mr Richard Stoneman and Ms Catherine Bousfield of Routledge for their patience and forbearance during the preparation of the manuscript.

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