Imperial policies towards pantomime and public entertainment

Hunt, Yvette May (2012). Imperial policies towards pantomime and public entertainment PhD Thesis, School of History, Philosophy, Religion & Classics, The University of Queensland.

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Author Hunt, Yvette May
Thesis Title Imperial policies towards pantomime and public entertainment
School, Centre or Institute School of History, Philosophy, Religion & Classics
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2012
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Amelia Brown
R. D. Milns
B. W. Jones
Thomas Stevenson
Total pages 254
Total colour pages 1
Total black and white pages 253
Language eng
Subjects 210306 Classical Greek and Roman History
Formatted abstract
This thesis examines the development of imperial policies towards the performance of pantomime (silent, competitive dance which was normally a solo performance) from its introduction in 23 B.C. until A.D. 235 in the city of Rome. It takes an empirical approach to the topic, but reviews the evidence for Rome’s theatre history through the imagined ‘Augustan gaze’ (viewing the evidence from the perspective of the emperor Augustus) to determine the reasons for his policies relating to his patronage pantomime, and reviews all imperial policies through the lens of Veyne’s theory of ‘euergetism’ or benefaction. Using this methodology, this thesis reviews the development of pantomime as seen through the ‘Augustan gaze’ to determine what pantomime had to offer Augustus. This thesis then reviews the juridical and social positions of actors in late Republican Rome, as well as the political and religious significance of ludi scaenici, to contextualise Augustus’ policies within Roman history. This provides a baseline from which policies developed within the Imperial period. A chronological review of the policies of Roman emperors towards pantomime from the introduction of ‘imperial pantomime’ in 23 B.C. until the death of Alexander Severus in A.D. 235 follows. This survey provide the evidence for all policies introduced, and illustrates how these policies could be influenced by those which had been introduced by previous emperors. This is followed by three thematic studies: the ownership of pantomimi (pantomime dancers) illustrating how imperial policies were influenced by who owned these performers, and how these policies affected the rights of these owners; the popularity of pantomime influencing imperial policy; and the membership of pantomimi in collegia (associations). These thematic studies provide the opportunity to more closely analyse how imperial policies were influenced by factors beyond the personal connections between the Imperial family and pantomimi. This thesis demonstrates that the introduction of pantomime fit within Augustus’ programme of cultural renewal, especially his desire to reintroduce and reshape antique religious forms. The subsequent imperial policies introduced by Augustus and successive emperors were, for the most part, reactionary, but were contained within Roman mores relating to religion and ludi, mindful of pantomime’s popularity and its value as a form of benefaction, and balanced against the ongoing need for public peace and acceptable behaviour. In total, this thesis illustrates that the policies introduced by emperors to regulate pantomime from 23 B.C. until A.D. 235 cannot be explained by the simple idea of panem et circenses, but need to be also viewed within the religious nature of Roman public entertainment.
Keyword Pantomime

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Created: Thu, 18 Jul 2013, 14:35:15 EST by Yvette Hunt on behalf of Scholarly Communication and Digitisation Service