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What arts did ancient Romans like?

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Visualization of the Roman theater in Verulamium (today's city of St Albans, England) from around 180 CE, by Alan Sorrell
Visualization of the Roman theater in Verulamium (today's city of St Albans, England) from around 180 CE, by Alan Sorrell

In the work “Daily Life in Ancient Rome” by Jérôme Carcopino, the author writes that the ancient Romans chose primarily dramas with macabre content, full of horror that made the viewer tremble.

An example of this category was “Tyestea’s Feast”, which tells the story of a mad murderer of her own son. The second category that is often chosen are plays with a sensual colour and saturated with eroticism. It was with them that it was easy to excite the audience, which was very susceptible to erotic stimuli.

Here comes to mind a huge number of works about unhappy or vicious love, which could stupefy and even demoralizing. These included the incest scenes, as was the case with Kinyras and his daughter Myrrha. The first premiere of the play took place on the eve of Caligula’s murder. Another example was the performance of Pazifae succumbing to the caresses of a bull.

Author: Michał Zając
Sources
  • Carcopino Jeorome, Życie codzienne w Rzymie w okresie rozkwitu cesarstwa, 1966

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