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Why do you think the Roman games were so harsh even to the point of killing?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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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 human life than we now do.

It seems clear that human beings have some sort of innate desire to see violence.  We still today watch boxing and mixed martial arts and, in some places, things like bullfighting or cockfighting.  Blood sports just seem to be something that happen at all times and places.

Of course, their games were more brutal than ours.  This probably comes from the fact that life was "cheaper" in those days.  People died much more often from wars and from accidents and from diseases.  There was much less of our modern idea that each individual life is precious.

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betlynwells | Student

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.

atyourservice | Student

It gave a thrill to people who watched them I guess. It's kind of like how in today's generation fights are really popular, people enjoy watching brutal stuff, of course not everyone does but a lot of people do.