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Fans and riots in world of Romans

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Pompeian fresco showing the clash of fans in the arena
Fresco from Pompeii showing the fights in the arena and beyond, arson, destruction of property and stalls.

It seems that the stadium riot is an invention of our time. However, 2,000 years ago, ancient Romans had similar problems. The account from Tacitus about some tragic event has survived to our times

In 59 years BCE in Pompeii, there was a riot next to an amphitheater between the locals and supporters from the nearby city Nuceria. The conflict started with stones; with time the swords were used. The result was a real slaughter of newcomers – many with severed limbs and numerous wounds went to the capital. At the emperor’s request, the Roman Senate decided to punish the city with a 10-year ban on organizing the games; all collegia and merchant organizations were closed, and guilty supporters were exiled. Sponsors of events and inciters of the fuss were sentenced to exile.

Both groups were supporting different gladiators.

  • Tacitus, Annales, XIV.17

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