Venationes Africanae: Hunting spectacles in Roman North Africa: cultural significance and social function

by Sparreboom A

Institution: Universiteit van Amsterdam
Year: 2016
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2071867
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/11245/1.534563


The Roman games have fascinated ancient historians - and many others - for centuries, and consequently the number of studies that has appeared in this field is vast. However, the majority of present research deals with the significance, function and attraction of gladiatorial combat in imperial Rome, the centre of the empire. Amphitheatre games in the Roman provinces in general and hunting spectacles with wild beasts (venationes) in particular have received much less scholarly attention. With its focus on venationes in Roman North Africa, this dissertation contributes to present research in two respects: firstly, by shifting attention away from Rome by exploring the socio-cultural significance of arena shows in a provincial context. And secondly, by studying not fights between humans (gladiators), but confrontations with animals, in venationes. The source material that is used is diverse; it ranges from literary and epigraphic material to iconographic sources and archaeological evidence. This material is studied with the help of two theoretical concepts, ‘cultural exchange’ and ‘cultural performance’, in order to shed light on the place that venationes held in Roman African culture, the societal attitudes towards them and the experiences and mentality of producers, performers and fans.