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Ludi


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Ludi Games - Public sports or spectacles exhibited for the amusement of the people.

These celebrations formed part of the religion of the ancients; the games themselves were solemnized for the professed purpose either of appeasing the wrath of the gods, and meriting their favour; or of invoking the blessing of health for the people, whose good graces were also sought to be conciliated by those who instituted and arranged them.

The Grecian states, in the ages of their independence, carried the system of holding public games to the highest point of national distinction. Afterwards when Greece submitted to the Roman Yoke, her conquerors encouraged this extravagant taste, which bettersuited their ambitious policy than to leave her to the galling thoughts of lost liberty. And from numismatic evidence, it would even appear that the provinces increased the number of their public games in the very ratio of their decreasing prosperity. From the time of Septimius Severus, medals are found to indicate many new institutions of this sort, of which no preceding record has been made. But their number was never so great as under Valerian I and Gallienus: that is to say, during reigns in which the Greek provinces of the empire were in the most neglected and ruious state.

Passing over (by no means uninteresting but simply as exceeding the limits of a work expressly confined to Roman numimatics), those notices of Grecian games which Millin has so nobly given in his Dictionaire des Beaux Arts, we proceed to enumerate and shall attempt concisely to explain the Ludi Romani. These received their respective appelations from the places where they were celebrated, as circensian and scenic games; or by the name of the deity to whom they were consecrated; and these latter were divided into sacred games, and votive games, funeral games, and games of amusement. The plebian ediles had the management of the plebian games. The Praetor, or curcule edile, took the direction of the games dedicated to Ceres, Apollo, Jupiter, Cybele, and to the other principal deities under the name of Ludi Megalenses. Amongst this variety of public specticals, there were some which were specially denominated Ludi Romani, and which were themselves divided into magni, and maximi.

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