The Ancient Library

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On this page: Games (continued)



the oldest games of all, and were, in strict­ness, celebrated in honour of Jupiter by victorious generals at their triumphs ; hence it was that they included, as a special feature, a procession (pompa) from the Capitol to the Circus; a part of the perfor­mance which seems afterwards to have been embodied in the other games of the circus. Originally they lasted only one day; but in course of time they absorbed more and more time, till in the Ciceronian age they went on for fifteen (September 4-19). After the death of Caesar another day was added in his honour. After the introduction of theatrical performances, several days were taken up with them. The curule sediles were, in the republican period, responsible for the management. (2) Ludi plebei. These originally lasted one day, but after­wards fourteen, November 4-17. They were given in the Circus Flamlnius under the direction of the plebeian sediles, and early included dramatic entertainments. (3) Ludi Cgr&Gl&s, given under the direc­tion of the plebeian sediles in honour of Ceres, the tutelary goddess of the plebs. The date was originally April 19, afterwards April 12-19. (4) Ludi Apo1lln<lres,OTin honour of Apollo. These were introduced during the Second Puoic War, and celebrated originally on July 13, continuing afterwards from July 6-13. On the last day only were there any performances in the circus; the rest of the festival was given up to the drama. These were the only games for which, in the republican period, the praetor was responsible. (5) Ludi MSgAlenses, in honour of the Magna Mater, introduced 204 B.C. and held at first on April 4, afterwards from April 4-10. (See rhea.) They included perfor­mances both in the theatre and in the circus. They were under the management of the curule aediles, and the same remark applies to (6) the Ludi FloraJes, from April 28 to May 3. (See flora.) During the imperial period the number of permanent festivals was largely increased. The birthday of Augustus, for instance (September 23), was regularly celebrated with ludi circenses, and the ludi Augustales (October 3-12) were in­stituted in honour of his memory.

Side by side with the public games, private performances were often given by

societies, families, and individuals on special occasions, such as those of births, marriages, or funerals. Sometimes the object would be merely to please the public: sometimes to raise money. The giver of the enter­tainment had, like the superintendent of i the public games, the privilege of lictors and the tOgrl prcetexta. Charges for ad­mission were made or not according to the occasion. But the admission to the public games was free, it being always understood that special seats were reserved for the magistrates, priests, senators, gquites, and particular families and individuals. (See amphitheatre, circus, gladiatores, sea-fights, theatre, wild beasts.)

Of social games the ancients, and espe­cially the Greeks, had plenty. The cottdbus, so popular at Greek banquets, the games of ball, of which both Greeks and Romans were fond, and the games with dice, are described in separate articles. A game of draughts (petteia) appears as early as Homer, and was said to have been the in­vention of Palamedes. But we have no knowledge of its nature and rules, and have

GAME OF " ODD AND EVEN." (Vase painting, Paris: Arch. Ztit. 1871. tat. 6«, 3).

very scanty information about the similar games played in later times. The " game of cities" seems to have resembled our chess or draughts. The board was divided into spaces, and movements made upon it with stones; the object being to get your opponent into check. The Romans had

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