Why do you think the Roman games were so harsh even to the point of killing?
It is hard to know why people of any given time act the way they do. We can really only speculate. I would argue that the Roman games were like this because A) it seems to be human nature to like to watch brutality of at least some sort and B) because they had a lower regard for...
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Taking pleasure in the infliction of pain and great bodily harm on another comes from psychological/emotional and political/sociological sources. In the first category are those who feel no empathy for other living beings, usually because they have suffered greatly and learned to sublimate their own response to pain by inflicting it on others. In the second category are those who dehumanize the “other” and do not relate to them as fellow human beings. Both of these sources were prevalent in the Roman Empire. The vast majority of the Roman populace was poor serfs doing backbreaking labor, beaten by their masters, living in poverty, seeing death, suffering, and deformity at an early age. For the few who were the wealthy citizens, they dehumanized those who they relegated as participants in the blood sports because they were captured enemies or members of the poorest class. Today we have controlled our more primitive instincts for ”us vs. them” via sports such as football, and, in some cultures, have turned to blood sports such as bull fighting.