Come si svolgeva una giornata all’arena?

Arena dei gladiatori

Innanzi tutto la sera prima dei giochi nell’arena iniziavano le celebrazioni con una cena offerta ai gladiatori. Tale cena era chiamata “coena libera”, poiché tutti potevano partecipare. Il pubblico poteva vedere da vicino i propri eroi e valutarne la prestanza in previsione delle scommesse che sarebbero state fatte il giorno.

S’iniziava la mattina seguente con una sorta di processione.

Il finanziatore dei giochi, se magistrato preceduto da littori, se privato da personaggi con palme, entrava nell’arena dalla “porta triumphalis”. Al suo seguito suonatori, inservienti che portavano cartelli con scritto il programma dello spettacolo, quante erano le coppie di gladiatori che si sarebbero affrontate. Il numero degli animali cacciati e le ragioni delle condanne a morte che avrebbero avuto luogo nel corso dello spettacolo. Infine entravano i gladiatori seguiti dai condannati a morte che, legati da ceppi uno all’altro, erano esposti al pubblico ludibrio.

La venatio

Si dà inizio ai giochi che, secondo la sequenza dettata da Augusto, prevedevano al mattino, le venationes. La venatio fu la forma di spettacolo che più appassionava i romani, nel VI secolo d.C.. Molto tempo dopo che gli spettacoli dei gladiatori erano cessati, il Colosseo ospitava ancora giochi di questo tipo, a riprova dell’interesse che la caccia esercitava sul pubblico. La caccia a migliaia di animali esotici, le esecuzioni crudeli che rasentavano la follia umana, costituivano probabilmente il momento più sanguinoso e morboso dell’intero spettacolo, durante il quale il pubblico manifestava i suoi più bassi istinti.

Nell’intervallo di mezzogiorno erano eseguite le condanne a morte, i combattimenti simulati e le acrobazie dei saltimbanchi.

Nelle condanne a morte si sfruttavano i malcapitati per ricreare “quadri viventi”, solitamente ispirati alla mitologia, con cui divertire il pubblico nella pausa tra i due principali momenti dello spettacolo In un caso l’area interna del Colosseo fu trasformata in un bosco, dove fu ambientato il mito di Orfeo ed Euridice. Ovviamente il condannato non riuscì con il suo canto a placare le fiere e, tra le risa generali fu sbranato da un orso. Ad un celebre brigante, Laureolo, fu assegnato l’ingrato compito di rivestire i panni di Prometeo incatenato, fu quindi legato su una croce e lasciato sbranare da un orso. Non mancavano le ricostruzioni storiche, come per il condannato costretto a ripetere il gesto di Muzio Scevola, facendosi bruciare la mano sulla fiamma.


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