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13. BREAD AND CIRCUSES

Ancient Rome had free public baths, libraries and lavatories.

It even made free issues of bread - at one time a quarter of the population (400,000 people) were receiving this dole.

But man does not live by bread alone. Bronze dole tickets were given free for the Arena.

 

 

14. THE ARENA


The Roman Arena was the most fantastic, the most successful, the most revolting institution in history.

The Arena was a place where people could watch other people and animals being slaughtered.

The Arena started off with games in honour of the Gods. But soon the sport became business, big business.

Colossal stadiums were built all over Rome. A third of a million people could cram into one stadium.

 

15. MILLIONS CAME

On Arena days, the city was crowded. Placards announced the events. People were suffocated, trampled in the crush on opening days.

One set of games lasted for 122 days. During this time 11,000 people and 10,000 animals were killed in the Arena.

Men, women and children were ripped to death; killed in the most revolting ways.

The flat dwellers loved it. They roared for more - and got it.

16. SUCCESS OF THE GAMES

The people living in those foul blocks of flats never rebelled. Over the centuries their conditions were never improved.

But they had the Games - the slaughter in the Arena. It proved an effective way of keeping the masses in order.

It was done at enourmous expense. Millions were involved in running the Games - importing the victims, human and animal, from all over the world, making the arrangements and publicising the events.

17. BEST VALUE FOR MONEY

It may be asked if all this money and effort could nor have been better spent.

Perhaps water and sanitation could have been laid on to the workers' flats. Perhaps building decent places for them to live in would have been a better investment.

The spectacle of Rome with its blocks of flats without sanitation, crowded narrow streets, huge open burial pits provoked a comment from one famous writer. "It was an example", he wrote,"of vile municipal house-keeping".

18. AND FOR THE FUTURE
The most evil cost of the Games was the brutalisation of the people of the old world's biggest city and first world metropolis.

Did the success of the "Bread and Circus" bribe set a pattern for future rulers?

19. NOTHING LEFT

There is nothing remaining of all those blocks of flats.

We know about them from the complaints of the people who had to live in them.

We are not sure how they left the scene of history as the Roman Empire crumbled before the onslaught of the vandals.

20. THE VANDALS

The vandals were a savage horde who rampaged through Europe. They hated civilisation, they hated towns, monuments and churches.

They looted and destroyed the fine cities of Roman Europe.

Alas, the vandals are still with us.

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