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Milites in Caueā:
on the audiences of military amphitheaters



Due to the tremendous number of publications on Roman gladiation a lot is known about gladiators fighting in civil amphitheaters like the Colosseum. Military amphitheaters, however, are far less known and are just starting to be recognized as an autonomous branch of Roman gladiation. According to recent studies in this field,1 Roman gladiation is to be divided basically into two separate branches: an imperial-military and a municipal-civil one. These two branches differ, however, not with respect to the gladiatorial shows themselves but with respect to their administration, logistics, and intended purposes. The military gladiation was comprised of munera hosted by the emperor himself – mainly staged in Rome – as well as gladiatorial shows put on in amphitheaters adjacent to Roman legionary and auxiliary forts. Since the Roman military was primarily garrisoned near the frontiers of the Roman Empire, military gladiation could be seen as a phenomenon specific to the Roman provinces. Yet, this by no means poses a compulsory prerequisite. Military amphitheaters were unearthed throughout the Roman Empire, from Britannia in the north (Caerleon, Chester, Richborough) to Dacia in the east (Moigrad, Vetel), and Northern Africa (Lambaesis, Mesarfelta, Tebessa) in the south to name a few (fig. 1).2

Map with sites and findspots of source material mentioned in the text
Fig. 1. Map with sites and findspots of source material mentioned in the text. Black circle: military amphitheaters; yellow circle: civil amphitheaters; red circle: inscriptions; green circle: literary evidence; blue circle: papyrus (1 Caerleon, 2 Chester, 3 Richborough, 4 Porolissum/Moigrad, 5 Micia/Vetel, 6 Lambaesis/Tazoult-Lambèse, 7 Mesarfelta, 8 Tebessa/Theveste, 9 Colonia Vlpia Traiana/Xanten, 10 Carnuntum/Bad Deutsch-Altenburg, 11 Aquincum/Budapest, 12 Brigetium/Koáron, 13 Vindonissa/Windisch, 14 Castra Albana/Albano Laziale, 15 Dura Europos/Qual’at as Sāliḩiyah, 16 Forden Gaer, 17 Legio/León, 18 Deva/Chester, 19 Zugmantel, 20 Dordracum/Dordrecht, 21 Nijmegen, 22 CCAA/Cologne, 23 Montanensium/Montana, 24 Hispalis/Sevilla, 25 Corduba/Cordoba, 26 Roma/Rome, 27 Babylon near Memphis). © Athena Trakadas.

Since all these military amphitheaters were located next to military forts and since both Roman gladiation and Roman military were strongly subjected to standardization, one can assume that wherever a Roman legion or auxiliary unit was stationed on a permanent basis, a military amphitheater in all likelihood was built close by. That this might have been true for naval units as well is suggested by a statue base found in Dordracum/Dordrecht (Germania Inferior) near modern Nijmegen bearing a dedication to the god Mars and dedicated by the gladiatorsof the Rhine-fleet, the headquarters of which was at Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinenisum/Cologne.3 The occasion for the ‘naval’ gladiators’ dedication is unknown, as is the reason for their detachment from their headquarters. The very fact of their existence, however, raises the question whether also a naval unit could be equipped with a military amphitheater as venue for its familia gladiatoria, too.4

According to tile-stamps found in situ, military amphitheaters were built by the soldiers stationed in the camp nearby and were due to their building inscriptions authorized by the emperor as chief commander of the Roman army.5 In addition, all known building inscriptions of military amphitheaters are imperial inscriptions, thus testifying to the fact that the tremendous expenses needed for the erection of an amphitheater were born by the emperor or financed through public funds, respectively.6 Civilian amphitheaters, by contrast, were usually built by the municipality based on a municipal decree by the ordo decurionum,7 a civil amphitheater’s refurbishment or embellishment was especially sponsored by private persons.8 This might show that the erection of an amphitheater was way too expensive – or prestigious – for a private person to sponsor. That a permission by the emperor for the building of a civil amphitheater was needed emanates from a passage handed down to us in the Digestes, allegedly written by the Roman lawyer Aemilius Macer (beginning 3rd century CE): Opus noum priuato etiam sine principis auctoritate facere licet, praeterquam (…) uel circum theatrum uel amphitheatrum sit. (…) Inscribi autem nomen operi publico alterius quam principis aut eius, cuius pecunia id opus factum sit, non licet.9 That these building regulations were in effect even before this juridical text was incorporated into the Digestes become apparent by the fact that building inscriptions of amphitheaters known so far do follow these guidelines. In addition, no amphitheaters in the Roman empire were newly built after the middle of the 3rd century CE, so that the edict must reflect earlier juridical practice in order to make any sense.10

On very rare occasions, however, there were civilian amphitheaters built – and paid for – by the emperor himself. The most renowned is the Colosseum in Rome, the cost of which was – according to its building inscription – paid for by the spoils of war.11 Also, the emperor Hadrian had a civil amphitheater built in his home town Italica/Santiponce (Baetica), which was one of the biggest amphitheaters in the empire.12 The symbolism, power, and political significance of both building projects immediately becomes apparent and thus underlines the prestige and strategic value which a Roman emperor obviously conceded to the erection of amphitheaters in public spaces.

That the emperor very carefully chose if and where he supported the erection of a civil and/or military amphitheater can also be seen in Carnuntum/Bad Deutsch Altenburg – Petronell (Pannonia Superior). Here, the building inscription of the civil amphitheater (Carnuntum/Petronell, 2nd half of 2nd century CE) names the decurio Caius Domitius Zmaragdus as the one who was responsible for its erection on public soil and who bore the majority of the cost.13 In close proximity to the civil amphitheater of Carnuntum, the eastern gate of the military amphitheater (Carnuntum/Bad Deutsch Altenburg) yielded a fragmented inscription of Flavian date, the text of which could be reconstructed as to its basic content: accordingly, the military amphitheater was erected by or dedicated to Vespasian and his son Titus assisted by or built for the legio XV Apollinaris,which was stationed there at the time.14 So in one and the same city, the civil amphitheater was paid for by private and possibly municipal resources (building area), the military one, in contrast, by the emperor and/or public funds, respectively.

Furthermore, military amphitheaters were always built outside the fort, but within the peripheral compound of the canabae legionis or uicus castelli. Military amphitheaters are therefore deemed to be military buildings just like any other building of military use outside the camp, such as baths, campi, etc. The building inscriptions from military amphitheaters also refer to their maintenance and refurbishing works, sometimes even for the adornment or technical enhancement of these entertainment buildings. For example, one of the building inscriptions of the military amphitheater of Lambaesis/Tazoult-Lambèse (Africa Proconsularis/Numidia) records that Septimius Seuerus had the amphitheater repaired and adorned (refecit exornauitque).15 Given the architectural development of Roman provincial amphitheaters and the specific wording of the inscription’s text it seems possible that reficere could have entailed the installation of a hypogeum, a subterranean gallery for hoisting mechanisms.16 Since the legio III Augusta, which had built Lambaesis’ amphitheater back in 169 CE and was using it ever since, had supported Septimius Seuerus during the civil war of 193 CE, the enhancement of the amphitheater’s technology in order to render more exciting show effects might be considered a donation by the emperor to his loyal soldiers.17

Epigraphic and papyrological evidence hint at the fact that Roman legions, auxiliaries, and naval units also had their own ludus gladiatorius. This ludus consisted – just like its civilian counterpart – of one or more familiae gladiatoriae, each of which was presided over by a high-ranking or veteran gladiator. As suggested by a fragmentary papyrus from the archives of a Roman military unit in Babylon near Memphis (Aegyptus), dating to the 2nd half of the 2nd century CE,18 this familia was administered by the garrison’s headquarters and seemed to have been accommodated and catered for within the camp.19 The brim of a gladiator’s helmet found near Nijmegen (Germania Inferior) with an inscription naming its owner as the legio XV Primigenia shows that gladiatorial weapons and equipment were clearly paid for by the military as well.20 Moreover, it seems likely that military gladiators could be detached for ‘away matches’ to other military camps and that their presence or absence was registered in the camp’s archives – possibly for logistical reasons. In addition, the aforementioned papyrus seems to support the idea of statistics which were kept in the military archives and which recorded victories, losses, and ties (stans missus) of each military gladiator.

Besides, not only gladiatorial shows were staged in military amphitheaters, but also wild beast hunts seemed to have been part of the military’s entertainment program. Dedicatory inscriptions attest that soldiers were sent out to retrieve wild animals for the arenas of military spectacula.21 The capture of wild animals, their transport, and possibly also their taming or drilling for performing in military amphitheaters likewise were tasks that were assigned to Roman soldiers. In the capital of Germania Inferior, for example, an inscribed altar dedicated to the goddess Diana was found, its text referring to a Roman centurion of the legio I Minervia Pia Fidelis named Quintus Tarquitius Restitutus who boasts of the capture of 50 bears within six months: intra men | [ses] sex captis | [ur]sis n(umero) L.22 The use of the verb capere indicates that the 50 bears were not hunted and killed, but instead captured alive.23 Since bears in the Roman army were neither used for food supply nor for military purposes (uniforms, battles, etc.) it is plausible to assume that the bears’ intended purpose lay in the replenishment of (imperial/military) amphitheaters with wild and exotic animals. Thus, Q. Tarquitius Restitutus, who most probably was delegated to the proconsul of the province residing in CCAA, must have captured a wild bear every three to four days in the fauna-rich woods of the Eifel mountains. A dedicatory inscription from the Municipium Montanensium/Montana (Moesia Superior) dating to 147 CE proves that not only soldiers of the Roman army were involved in the capture of bears and bisons, but also units of the Moesian fleet.24 With this in mind, it seems conceivable that in the case of Q. Tarquitius Restitutus also the Rhine-fleet stationed in CCAA/Cologne might have been involved in the transport of the captured bears and helped delivering them to various (military) amphitheaters.

A possible destination of these bears during the 3rd century CE could also have been the camp of the legio XXX Vlpia Victrix Severiana Alexandriana, which was garrisoned some 60 km downstream in Vetera Castra/Xanten (Germania Inferior). Here, Cessorinius Ammausius worked as ursarius leg(ionis) according to the text on a base with the dedicant’s statue on top of it (fig. 2).25 What exactly the task of a military ursarius comprised is unclear since no further inscriptions of military ursarii have been found. But in comparison with civil ursarii possibly also working for the Roman military26 it seems conceivable that ursarii were not entrusted with the capture of bears and/or wild animals but rather with their feeding, care, and maybe even taming in preparation for their performance in a (military) amphitheater.27 This, at least, is supported by the statue resting atop the inscribed base of Cessorinius Ammausius which depicts the dedicant together with a bear and some round objects (fruits?) in front of its snout (fig. 2).28

Cessorinius Ammausius, ursarius of the legio XXX Vulpia Victrix Severiana Alexandriana.
Fig. 2. Cessorinius Ammausius, ursarius of the legio XXX Vulpia Victrix Severiana Alexandriana, 3rd century CE, Xanten (Germany); © Axel Thünker DGPh für LVR-Archäologischer Park Xanten / LVR-RömerMuseum.

Hence, it becomes apparent that not only an enormous amount of money had to be spent to render services to a fully-functioning gladiation within the sphere of the military, but also that no other branch of the Roman entertainment business was implemented in a similar way: other than of military amphitheaters, no physical remains of stadia, theaters, or circuses have ever been found near military camps. Since an obviously large sum of money was spent on something of little to no strategic importance, it is apparent that different aims were pursued in doing so. These aims must be sought in the imperial power structure which needed to safeguard the emperor’s interests and power. As the chief commander of the armed forces, the emperor needed to make sure that he could rely on his soldiers’ loyalty and, at the same time, was responsible for their combat strength in a technical sense as well as their morale. Therefore, staging gladiatorial fights was a means to educate imperial troops in Roman uirtus, exhibiting the renowned esprit de corps of Roman gladiators willing to fight unconditionally and with their proverbial love of death. The great popularity of gladiatorial fights – especially on Italian soil – also guaranteed positive encouragement, so that educational aims, elegantly wrapped in joyful entertainment, became a welcomed distraction in a soldier’s everyday life – one otherwise full of deprivation.

This chapter focusses on the question of whether or not the audiences in amphitheaters were also divided according to a separation in municipal-civil and imperial-military amphitheaters. Were soldiers allowed in civil amphitheaters and civilians likewise in military ones? In addition, light is shed on a possible discrimen ordinum in the cauea of military amphitheaters. Are there locus-inscriptions or architectural features attesting to VIP-seats or areas for segregated military staff or civil spectators in a military cauea?

Military and civil amphitheaters

Why two amphitheaters in one town?

When surveying military and civilian amphitheaters throughout the Roman Empire, it is remarkable that some Roman settlements were equipped with two amphitheaters in very close proximity. In Colonia Vlpia Traiana/Xanten (Germania Inferior), a civil amphitheater (built probably after 120 CE)29 is attested within the city walls whereas in Vetera Castra, the Roman military camp nearby, a second amphitheater existed, in use since early Neronian, maybe even Claudian times.30 Likewise in Carnuntum (Pannonia Superior), a civilian amphitheater erected at the end of the second century CE (present-day Petronell) co-existed with a military amphitheater (present-day Bad Deutsch-Altenburg) whose second building phase dates to the 2nd century CE.31 Also, in Aquincum/Budapest (Pannonia Superior) a civilian amphitheater, which was erected between 124 and 162 CE, and a military one, which was built between 145-161 CE are attested32. Two coexisting amphitheaters were also found in Brigetium/Koáron (Pannonia Superior):33 here, the civil amphitheater probably was built under Severus Alexander, whereas the military amphitheater’s erection was contemporary to the one of the legionary camp nearby (late Trajan/early Hadrianic).34

Judging from the structural remains of these sites with two amphitheaters there can be no doubt that their purpose clearly lay in the staging of gladiatorial shows and wild beast hunts. Needless to say, the erection of a civil amphitheater was tremendously expensive and subject to severe regulations by the emperor.35 Thus, the mere existence of two monuments for gladiatorial shows within close vicinity gives rise to questions as to the necessity of having two such buildings. Whereas for Carnuntum, Aquincum, and Brigetium the simultaneous use of these buildings can be strengthened by archaeological and/or epigraphical evidence, the case of Vetera Castra is more complicated. In Vetera Castra/Xanten-Birten the military amphitheater (Claudian/Neronian) was built near the camp of the legiones V Alaudae and XV Primigenia (fig. 3), which according to Tacitus (Hist. 4,60) was destroyed during the Batavian revolt in 69/70 CE.36 The military amphitheater, though, seems not to have been a target of the Batavians since it did not yield any traces of violent destruction.37 In 71 CE, a new camp was erected – so-called Vetera Castra II – in close vicinity to the first one, now meant to host only one legion (legio XXII Primigenia). Although traces of Vetera Castra II have been observed, its exact location is still a matter of dispute (fig. 3).

Site plan of the military forts of the Roman legions V Alaudae 
and XV Primigenia (Vetera I) and legio XXII Primigenia (Vetera II).
Fig. 3. Site plan of the military forts of the Roman legions V Alaudae and XV Primigenia (Vetera I) and legio XXII Primigenia (Vetera II), Xanten, Germania Inferior. © Jan Hochbruck, LVR-APX/LVR-RömerMuseum.

In contrast, traces or finds attesting to a newly built military amphitheater in the vicinity of the assumed location of Vetera Castra II have not been found so far. It is noteworthy, however, that the size of the military amphitheater at Xanten-Birten where two legions were garrisoned is marginally smaller (c. 98 x 84 m) than the military amphitheater of Vindonissa/Windisch (Germania Superior) where only one legion was stationed (phase I: c. 94 x 76, phase II: 111 x 99 m).38 This might point to the fact that the military amphitheater in Xanten-Birten was in fact still used after the Batavian revolt by the soldiers of the newly-erected camp. The civil amphitheater of nearby Colonia Vlpia Traiana/Xanten was most probably built not before 120 CE39, so that a chronological overlap of the military and civil amphitheater’s use also at Xanten seems to be possible. Hence, the physical and chronological coexistence of civil and military amphitheaters seem to indicate that they either must have served different purposes (i.e., other than staging munera) and/or were meant for a different audience (i.e., for different spectators). The latter interpretation might be strengthened by an inscription found in Brigetium/Komárom (Pannonia Superior) from which we learn at least some details about the spectators in the town’s two amphitheaters. Whereas the military amphitheater in Brigetium left only physical remains40 (unfortunately lost today), the civil amphitheater is attested by an inscription dating to the reign of Alexander Severus (222-235).41[41] It gives account of a refurbishment by the IIuir quinquennalis municipii named Lucius Veratius Iulianus:

Podium cum suis
spectaculis p(edum) LXX leg(ioni)
I Adi(utrici) P(iae) F(ideli) Seuer(ianae) L(ucius) Verat(ius
Iulianus, IIuir q(uin)q(uennalis) mun(icipii)
Brig(etionensium) a solo sumptibus
suis extruxit.

According to the text, L. Veratius Iulianus was responsible for the renovation of 70 feet (c. 21 m) of the podium, i.e. the spectator seats closest to the arena which were reserved for the honorary upper class.42 This refurbishment was done from the ground up and L. Veratius Iulianus bore all the expenses by himself (not through public funds). Interestingly, lines two and three of the inscription’s text mention a military unit, the legio I Adiutrix Pia Fidelis. Due to the abbreviated form of the legion’s title, it cannot be determined with certainty whether we have to augment it with the dative case ending – as was proposed by Pastor43 – or with the ablative case ending leg(ione) I Adi(utrici) P(ia) F(ideli) Seuer(iana). Assuming the dative case ending would mean that L. Veratius Iulianus dedicated or even donated the renovation works to the legion, whereas assuming the ablative case ending would suggest that L. Veratius Iulianus ‘capitalized’ on the legio I by having them build the necessary construction work. However, the latter interpretation would contradict the term sumptibus suis since using the military for construction work means referring to imperial or public funds. Thus, it seems that the renovated section of the podium was a gift or dedication to the legio I. Since the seating capacity of an amphitheater’s VIP section certainly fell short of the accommodation of an entire Roman legion (i.e. 5000-6000 legionnaries), it seems more plausible that only the higher ranks of the legio I were granted special seating. So, in the civil amphitheater of Brigetium, extra seats were reserved for military dignitaries at least at the beginning of the 3rd century CE. However, whether or not civil dignitaries were granted special seating in the military amphitheater of Brigetium in return remains unknown.

Several inscriptions bear witness to the fact that veterans of the Roman army also had reserved seats in a civil amphitheater’s cauea: At Aquincum/Budapest (Pannonia Inferior), for example, several locus-inscriptions came to light in the civil amphitheater which assigned special seats to former members of the Roman military – probably of the legio II Adiutrix deployed there.44 In addition, a locus-inscription dating to the 2nd-3rd centuries CE might have been assigned to a kar(cerarii?) leg[(ionis) — ] of the same legion (?), a rank within the military administration indicating a prison guard who guarded the legion’s stockade (but may have had other duties as well).45 In Hispalis/Sevilla (Baetica), too, a partially destroyed inscription dating to the 3rd century CE was revealed on the lower part of a marble base possibly attesting to loca ueteranorum.46 Unfortunately, the exact provenience of the stone is unknown, as is its connection to the amphitheater.47 Thus, it seems that military dignitaries, veterans, and maybe administrative personnel of the Roman army were intitled to have reserved seats in the cauea of a civil amphitheater, some of them even in the VIP area (podium) – at least in the provinces of Pannonia Superior/Inferior and Baetica during the 2nd and 3rd centuries CE.

However, according to Suetonius (Aug., 44.2), military personnel in civil amphitheaters on special seating is attested already in Augustan Rome: Augustus, who (re)organized the amphitheater’s discrimen ordinum, was said to have separated them from the crowd (militem secreuit a populo).48 The singular ‘militem’ here is certainly to be interpreted as pars pro toto and probably was comprised of several milites – most likely higher-ranking ones. Yet, the question arises who exactly was meant by militem or even milites since Roman legions or auxiliaries were prohibited within the city of Rome’s perimeter.49 The cohortes urbanae and praetoriae who only served paramilitary functions50 as well as detachments of the Roman fleets (Ravenna, Misenum) which were responsible for the hoisting of the uela in the city’s theaters and amphitheaters were in fact garrisoned in Rome.51 They, too, were granted special seats in the Colosseum.52 For reasons of limited (VIP) seating space it is, however, likely that not whole units but rather their higher-ranking members, such as the tribunes and centurions of the cohortes uigilum or the praetorian guards were allowed these privileges.

Thus, we see that in Rome early on during the Roman principate military not only was allowed amongst the spectators of civil amphitheaters, but was also granted separate and sometimes even preferred seating in the cauea. It is noteworthy, however, that the first and only long-term military camp on Italian soil was erected at Castra Albana/Albano Laziale, some 20 km southeast of Rome.53 As we know from preserved tile-stamps, soldiers of the legio II Parthica erected their military camp by the end of the 2nd century CE and enlarged at the same time a pre-existing (imperial?) amphitheater for staging military munera.54 Maybe from then on even higher ranking officers of the Parthan legion were present at munera legitima staged in Rome. Since the sphere of both the Roman military and the Roman gladiation followed highly standardized norms, we might assume that this discrimen ordinum of civil amphitheaters played a role model for other Italian and provincial amphitheaters in the public sphere throughout the Roman Empire.

Summarizing the above, one might infer that in civil amphitheaters members of the military were amongst the spectators who since Augustan times were seated separately from the rest of the audience. The existence of locus-inscriptions as well as restrictions in terms of available seating space might also hint to the fact that these military members were comprised of honorary guests from the military establishment rather than complete military units (that is, an entire legio or auxilia). Now the question remains whether or not civil spectators were also permitted to watch munera gladiatoria in a military amphitheater.

Civilians as spectators in military amphitheaters?

A hint as to possible differences in spectators in civil and military amphitheaters lies with financial issues. As already mentioned, the tremendous amount of money that was necessary to build a large-scale construction like a civil amphitheater was usually procured by cities, in some rare cases by a private person, too.55 On the contrary, military amphitheaters were erected in the compound of a legionary (canabae legionis) or auxiliary camp (uicus castelli)56 and fell under military jurisdiction as military buildings outside the camps.57 Based on the overall source material, it seems plausible that munera gladiatoria were also paid for or at least subsidized by public monies just like the military amphitheaters and all other expenses concerning the Roman army.58 This supposition, however, leads to the assumption that the emperor, who had a specific interest in addressing his educational and/or entertaining goals, focused on the military audience when staging a gladiatorial show in a military amphitheater. Emperor Vitellius (69 CE), for example, ‘rewarded’ his soldiers for their support with a munus gladiatorium,59 whereas Septimius Severus (193-211 CE) probably used a technical improvement in the military amphitheater of Lambaesis/Tazoult-Lambèse (Africa Proconsularis/Numidia) to pay back his soldiers’ support during domestic conflicts.60 According to Suetonius, the emperor Claudius also hosted munera gladiatoria in the barracks of the praetorian guards in Rome on the occasion of his birthday in 43 CE.61 In addition, the Historia Augusta mentions that munera gladiatoria were staged prior to a military campaign and sometimes as an offering to Nemesis.62

An inscription found in Corduba/Cordoba (Baetica) suggests that high-ranking officers of the Roman army were also allowed to host gladiatorial shows in military contexts. Here, a fragment of a statue base came to light which preserves an inscription dating to the 2nd cent. CE and – though destroyed in many places – can be partially reconstructed.63

C(aio) Rocio Rociano
V[a]leria[no – c. 10 –]
tribuno militum [leg(ionis) – c. 27 – ]
equitatae +O++++ [– c. 32 – ]
edidit mune[ra – c. 40 – ]
++ [ – c. 4- – ]+[ – c. 3 – ]
[ – c. 38 – ] – – – – – –

According to the inscription’s text someone dedicated an honorary statue to  Rocianus who was a military tribune of an unknown legion and in charge of a likewise unknown cohors equitata.64 Edidit mune[ra denotes C. Rocianus as munerarius who in a civil context was responsible for the organization and staging of a gladiatorial show.65 In the province of Baetica, the only Hispanic province under senatorial jurisdiction/administration, the tribunus militum legionis was the highest-ranking member of the Roman military. It is therefore reasonable to believe that he had the privilege or even munus to oversee the military branch of the Roman gladiation, because he was in fact the representative of the chief commander of the armed forces, the emperor himself.66 Whether C. Rocianus’ budget was comprised of public funds and/or included also private means – as was common practice in municipal shows staged by the duouiri – unfortunately isn’t disclosed by the text. The same applies to the question of whether the expenses – private or public – as well as the number of competing pairs of gladiators were limited, both of which were likewise customary in municipal munera legitima.67

Although assumptions as to the nature of these munera have to remain largely speculative, one is tempted to suggest that a tribunus militum legionis might have chosen a military amphitheater as a venue rather than a municipal one and that he also might have had the means to sponsor or donate these shows. If this were correct, it would be further likely that the addressees of this donation were to be sought in the soldiers and officers of the legion he was responsible for, rather than in a random number of civilians. So, in consequence, the audience of a military amphitheater might have been the ‘target’ of (imperial) benefits or donations and was therefore selected accordingly.

Another indication as to who attended military gladiatorial shows is delivered by the amphitheaters themselves. Looking at the buildings’ size it is conspicuous that military amphitheaters close to legionary camps are usually larger than those next to auxiliary forts.68 With respect to spectator capacity, however, one needs to keep in mind that the space for a spectator’s accommodation in an amphitheater’s cauea was effected by regional differences and could vary – where attested – from 0,33 to 0,40 m.69 In addition, the caueae of many amphitheaters were used as quarries during Late Antiquity and Medieval times and are thus rarely preserved to their full extent. On account of this, absolute figures in terms of spectator capacities have to be offered with caution and can only serve as an approximate estimation. In Germania Superior, for example, the legionary amphitheater of Vindonissa/Windisch had an estimated capacity of c. 6 200 spectators, which in a later phase was enlarged to even 9 000-11 000 spectators.70 In Dura Europos/Qual’at as Sāliḩiyah (Syria), in contrast, the capacity of the auxiliary amphitheater built in 216 CE was estimated to around 1 000 seats in timber.71 With all due caution, this suggests that the size of a military amphitheater was dictated by the number of soldiers garrisoned in the associated camp and, in turn, that the majority of the spectators was comprised of these very soldiers stationed there.

This observation is strengthened by the urbanistic structure of the canabae or uici. At Carnuntum/Bad Deutsch-Alteburg, Petronell (Pannonia Inferior) and Vetera Castra/Xanten (Germania Inferior), for example, where a camp with its surrounding canabae as well as a municipal settlement near the camp existed, the military amphitheater is located in the ‘shadow’ of the camp, meaning furthest away from the municipal settlements (figs. 3, 4).72 Thus, the military amphitheaters of both Carnuntum and Vetera Castra give the impression of being built properly secluded as far as possible from the municipal settlement close by. Were their inhabitants thus unwelcome as spectators in the military amphitheater?

Site plan of Carnuntum (Pannonia Superior), military (Amphitheater I) 
and civil (Amphitheater II) amphitheaters.
Fig. 4. Site plan of Carnuntum (Pannonia Superior), military (Amphitheater I) and civil (Amphitheater II) amphitheaters. © 2010 Gugl/Kremer (ÖAW). – Kartengrundlage: Orthofotos BEV/Land NÖ.

The road networks around military camps point in a similar direction: they show that for the accessibility of military amphitheaters the connection between them and the camp was decisive, not the one between them and any municipal settlement. At Forden Gaer (Britannia), for example, there ran “an important road leaving the fort at its suggested porta praetoria73 in close vicinity to the small military amphitheater. Also, at the aforementioned military amphitheater of Carnuntum the castra’s uia principalis leads almost exactly towards one of the main entrances (fig. 4).74

Furthermore, the military amphitheater of Legio/León (Hispania Tarraconensis) was erected in very close proximity to the fortress and was equally easily accessible via the porta principalis dextra and the porta praetoria.75

A similar situation can be seen at the legionary amphitheater at Deva/Chester (Britannia).76 Here, too, accessibility and spectator flow from the camp seem to have been key for choosing the appropriate spot for the military amphitheater.

However, the situation in the auxiliary camp of Zugmantel (Germania Superior) is noteworthy as the military amphitheater called ‘Hühnerstrasse’ was built halfway between the auxiliary fort and the limes (fig. 5).77 From the porta principalis sinistra of the Zugmantel camp a street runs straight to the limes and its passage to Germania libera.78 From this ‘main’ street a smaller one branches off at the camp’s gate and connects the fort with the southern entrance of the amphitheater.

Scetch of military amphitheater ‘Hühnerstraße’ of the auxiliary camp at Zugmantel (Germania Superior).
Fig. 5. Scetch of military amphitheater ‘Hühnerstraße’ of the auxiliary camp at Zugmantel (Germania Superior), based on Sommer, C. (2009): “Amphitheatres of Auxiliary Forts on the Frontiers”, in: Willmott, T., ed.: Roman Amphitheatres and Spectacula: a 21st-Century Perspective, Oxford, 54, Fig. 5.6.

The northern entrance road of the amphitheater, however, seems to have rejoined the fortress’s ‘main’ street thus running from the amphitheater towards the limes pass-through gate. This presumed access of the amphitheater suggests a spectator flow originating in the military camp and, additionally, may have included even areas beyond the limes. So, were there members of Germanic tribes present in a military amphitheater being situated that close to the limes? Or did gladiatorial shows just offer the occasion for staging a marketplace with stalls and traders in the amphitheater’s forecourt to which Germanic tribesmen and women were flocking?

As mentioned above, military amphitheaters were always erected within the military territory around its related fortress.79 In Vindonissa/Windisch (Germania Superior), for example, a wooden amphitheater was built near the camp of the legio XIII Gemina in c. 30 CE and – having been destroyed by fire – was re-erected in wood and stone by the legio XXI Rapax on the very spot in c. 50 CE.80 On the basis of the cauea’s angle of incline, the capacity of the wooden amphitheater was calculated to be around 6 200 spectators, the later amphitheater up to 9000-11000 spectators.81 Since only one legion at a time was garrisoned in Vindonissa it is obvious that the amphitheaters’ capacity exceeded the number of stationed soldiers (c. 5 000-6 000 legionnaires) even in the unlikely case of their outright presence. Hence, it is plausible to conclude that also civilians living within the camp or in the canabae were allowed at gladiatorial combats in the military amphitheater.82 We know, for example, that since Tiberius’ reign commanding officers of the armed forces (and proconsuls) were accompanied by their wives and families when being delegated.83 Children’s shoes, tablets and skeletons of newborn babies found amongst others in the praetorium of the camp of the legio XI at Vindonissa confirm that at least centuriones, tribunes and legati legionis had their families living with them in the military camp.84 The population of the canabae was comprised of merchants, artisans, wives, veterans etc. Who exactly of them were actually permitted amongst the spectators of military gladiatorial shows cannot be determined with certainty.85 Also, the question whether women – if admitted – were to sit in the uppermost tiers like in civilian amphitheaters has to remain unanswered.

Concessus caueae and discrimen ordinum in military amphitheaters

Several inscriptions attest to the fact that military amphitheaters exhibited – just like their civil counterparts – a podium, a section of usually broader seating steps surrounding the arena’s wall for the accommodation of the upper class and honorary dignitaries, respectively.86 One such inscription dating to 177-180 CE was unearthed in Lambaesis/Lambèse-Tazoult (Africa Proconsularis/Numidia).87 The respective lines read: […] partem amphith[e]atri a solo / et podium uniu[e]rsum uetus/tate corrupta restituerunt […] meaning that parts of the amphitheater had to be refurbished from the ground up, whereas the VIP-section needed complete renovation-works due to its collapse due to age. This shows that also in military amphitheaters separated areas for the ‘upper class’ existed which – given the military background – most likely must have been stipulated for the higher ranks of the military hierarchy or the military elite.

On an architectural basis some military amphitheaters provide evidence for separate entrances to the seating areas in the cauea. For example, the northern entrance of the military amphitheater at Vindonissa (fig. 6), built around 50 CE), was furnished with elaborate architectural elements that give the impression of a ostentatious gate.88 This gate communicated with the amphitheater’s media cauea, whereas its broad middle corridor led directly to the podium (the VIP area closest to the arena), including its VIP box.89

Ground plan of the younger military amphitheater 
at Vindonissa/Windisch.
Fig. 6. Ground plan of the younger military amphitheater at Vindonissa/Windisch (c. 50 CE; Germania Superior). © ProSpect GmbH, Rheinach BL (Schweiz).

Also, at Lambaesis/Lambèse-Tazoult (Africa Proconsularis/Numidia) the military amphitheater was equipped – in its second building phase – with a hospitality box reserved for dignitaries which was accessible from the south-west via a splendidly designed gate.90

However, numbered entrances like the ones of the Colosseum in Rome have not been attested for military amphitheaters so far. This might hint to the fact that either spectators of military munera did not have tickets at their disposal or the audience’s division in a military amphitheater was much simpler than in a civil one and therefore tickets were just not necessary.

The existence of maeniana similar to the ones in civilian amphitheaters is attested in the older wooden military amphitheater of Vindonissa/Windisch (Germania Superior, c. 30 CE).91 Here, the cauea’s southern half was hewn into a hillside whereas its opposite side was built on even soil using wooden scaffoldings for the support of the bleachers.92 Cushions in the mid-section of the hillside revealed that a man-made terrain-level or stepping was applied which divided the cauea into a bigger upper part of approximately six rows and a somewhat smaller part below of approximately four rows of seating steps.93 Both sections were separated by an aisle (praecinctio) (fig. 7).94

Cushions in the mid-section of the hillside revealing a man-made terrain-level 
in the older military amphitheater at Vindonissa/Windisch.
Fig. 7. Cushions in the mid-section of the hillside revealing a man-made terrain-level in the older military amphitheater at Vindonissa/Windisch (c. 30 CE; Germania Superior). © Kantonsarchäologie Aargau, CH – 5200 Brugg; Plan: Moosbrugger-Leu, R.

Given the relatively flat hierarchy of the Roman armed forces as well as the fact that ranks within the Roman military were easily apparent by clothing and insignia, it is quite possible that a broader division in ima, media, and summa maeniana in a military amphitheater was not as compelling as it was in a civil amphitheater.

In Africa Proconsularis/Numidia, the legio III Augusta built – probably in connection with the erection of their camp in Trajanic times – a military amphitheater in Lambaesis/Tazoult-Lambèse which underwent repair and adornment works until the end of the 2nd century CE.95 Inscriptions from this military amphitheater do point to a possible further division of the auditorium, although it has to remain uncertain whether these date to the time of the earlier military or later civilian use of the building.96 However, cunei VI to X are mentioned in the inscription’s texts thus attesting to the typical vertical and wedge-shaped subdivision of an amphitheater’s cauea.97 Furthermore, in Thevestis/Tebessa (Africa Proconsularis) – the former headquarters of the legio III Augusta and veteran/titular colony after the legion’s transfer to Lambaesis – inscriptions on the door lintels of the six arena-wall’s portae posticae were found.98 Dating to the 3rd century CE at the earliest, they preserve the names of six out of ten known curiae (Antoniniana, Papiria, Aurelia, Saturnia, Augusta, Traiana) in which the citizens of Thevestis were divided up.99 Obviously by this time the formerly military amphitheater had undergone a shift in possession, too, and was reused in a civic context. Also, the inscriptions above the two main entrances Floret Theuestis and [Salu]is Augustis speak of a transformed use of the monument, since their formular does not correspond to the inscription-practice of military amphitheaters.100 So, de nouo mending or embellishment works took place in the amphitheater during probably the 3rd century CE but by municipal sponsors, not military ones. Whether or not the military amphitheater bore similar inscriptions with military connotations back then or whether a preserved VIP-box had its predecessor in the amphitheater’s former military use must remain unclear.101

A partition of the auditorium is also apparent in the military amphitheater of Vindonissa/Windisch (Germania Superior). The younger military amphitheater (c. 50 CE) yielded stone fragments of calcareous sinter which were interpreted, due to their size and molding, as possible parts of the amphitheater’s baltei or praecinctiones, the lower walls running horizontally and dividing the cauea in different maeniana (fig. 8).102

Stone fragments found in the younger military amphitheater at Vindonissa/Windisch.
Fig. 8. Stone fragments found in the younger military amphitheater at Vindonissa/Windisch (c. 50 CE; Germania Superior) possibly attesting to baltei and praecinctiones. © Matter/Auf der Maur 2012, S. 41, Abb. 23 b.

None of these were found in situ, but in the backfill of one of the service corridors running behind the arena wall instead.103 In this backfill a remarkable inscription reading TIRONES was found which had been carved into the coping of one of the stone fragments.104 It is tempting to address this epigraph as locus-inscription given that the coping (and the backside) of the horizontal parapets in amphitheaters were often used for the indication of reserved seats.105 Since the inscription was unearthed in a debris layer, its original attachment cannot be ascribed for certain. Yet, we can conclude that a section of the cauea in the military amphitheater of Vindonissa was probably reserved for a number of people called tirones. Who exactly these tirones were is likewise hard to decide since this term applies as much to newly recruited soldiers as to new gladiators ready for their first fight in the arena.106 In both cases, however, it is unclear why either gladiatorial or military rookies should have exclusive seats in an amphitheater in the first place. In case social status or rank played a vital role, one could argue that due to the gladiators’ infamia it was socially not acceptable that gladiators in general sat amongst legionaries, i.e., free men with Roman civil rights. Therefore, the gladiatorial tirones might have posed an exception because watching an ongoing munus gladiatorium could have been part of their training.107


Epigraphic, literary, and archaeological evidence from various parts of the Roman Empire have come to light attesting to differences in spectators in civil and military amphitheaters (fig. 1). We learn that of the Roman provinces during the 2nd and 3rd centuries CE, members of the Roman military were granted separated seating sections in the cauea of civil amphitheaters. Amongst these were most probably high-ranking personnel of the military establishment and administration (officers, karcerarius) as well as veterans of the Roman army. This privilege seems to have existed early on, since a separation of soldiers within the auditorium of a civil amphitheater was already regulated by Augustus.108 As a consequence, the audience in a civil amphitheater was – amongst others – not only comprised of military staff, but provided separated seating for them as well. Where exactly within the cauea they were seated cannot be determined with accuracy, but it seems plausible that military dignitaries were even allowed in the podium, the amphitheater’s VIP section.

In contrast, persuasive or compelling source material attesting to civilians in military amphitheaters has not yet come to light. There is reason to believe that the organizers of gladiatorial combats in a military amphitheater consisted of either the emperor himself or – maybe especially in the Roman provinces – one of the highest-ranking officers of a Roman legion (tribunus militum legionis). Since spectacula in a military amphitheater were paid by public funds and aimed at the military virtus-education and/or donation of entertainment to the soldiers, it seems reasonable to assume that either the emperor, as the chief commander of the Roman army, or his representatives directed these means accordingly. Therefore, the spectators of military gladiatorial shows most probably consisted mainly of members of the military. This assumption is strengthened not only by the relatively small size of military amphitheaters,109 which were not intended to host a vast number of civilians, but also by their location within the canabae legionis or uicus castelli respectively: they were often located offside the nearby civilian settlement. In addition, the road networks in which a military amphitheater used to be imbedded give away the main spectator flow. The main entrances of a military amphitheater seem to have been connected primarily with the adjacent camp, rather than with the civil settlement nearby. It is, however, likely that civilians living in the canabae/uici or within the military camp – for example, the wives and families of higher-ranking officers – were part of the audience in a military amphitheater.

Furthermore, the architectural lay-out of military amphitheaters reveal a discrimen ordinum of the auditorium, although maybe less differentiated than in their civil counterparts. Military amphitheaters were – according to epigraphic evidence – equipped with a VIP section around the arena (podium) and maybe a hospitality box as well. It seems conclusive that this section was reserved for military dignitaries, but it cannot be proven by the extant source material. The existence of praecinctiones and at least two maeniana suggest that spectators of military gladiatorial shows were seated according to their military rank. Architecturally adorned entrances leading to these maeniana further support this hypothesis. Also, in Vindonissa/Windisch (Germania Superior) an alleged locus-inscription was unearthed in the military amphitheater (built c. 50 CE) which might attest to separate seats for recruits (tirones). Whether these were of military or gladiatorial background cannot be reliably determined since the evidence was not found in situ.

Thus, it seems that the audience in civil and military amphitheaters was comprised of a different spectator-clientele. Spectators in civil amphitheaters were probably mainly civilians with a few members of the army sitting in separated seating areas. In military amphitheaters, in contrast, the majority of the spectators were probably members of the Roman army whereas civilians from the canabae, uici, or families of high-ranking officers were fewer in numbers. Both audiences, however, seem to have been seated according to a certain hierarchy: a civil audience according to social hierarchy, the military audience most probably according to military ranking.



  • cat.-no. = catalogue-number
  • EAOR = Epigrafia anfiteatrale dell’Occidente Romano
  • EDH = Epigraphische Datenbank Heidelberg (Epigraphic Database Heidelberg)
  • JBer ProVindon = Jahresbericht der Gesellschaft Pro Vindonissa
  • JMES = Journal of Military Equipment Studies
  • JRME = Journal of Roman Military Equipment
  • KuBA = Kölner und Bonner Archaeologica

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  1. On military gladiation see Golvin 1988, 154-156; Le Roux 1990; Le Roux 1990; Junkelmann 2000; Epplett 2001; Sommer 2009; Dimde 2019.
  2. For a general overview see www.amphi-theatrum.de, a German website run by Generaldirektion Kulturelles Erbe Rheinland-Pfalz/Direktion Landesarchäologie Mainz, which offers source-material as well as bibliographical notes. An overall study on military gladiation throughout the Roman Empire including maps, photographs, and site plans does not yet exist.
  3. CIL, XIII, 8831: Marti uict | gladiatores | C G P F. Dimde 2019, 282-284, 351-352, cat. 2.7.3 with further bibliography. The inscription had been in private possession, but is lost today. The base, which preserved the footprints of a statue on top of it, has been dated to between 96 CE, when the honorary title Pia Fidelis was granted to the Rhine-fleet, and the last third of the 3rd century CE, when the Rhine-fleet was disbanded. Archaeological traces of the fleet’s camp were unearthed in the south of Cologne (Marienburg) and date back to c. 50 CE.
  4. Dimde 2019, 212-215, on hypotheses as to the possible location of the military amphitheater of the Classis Germania close to their camp at Cologne-Marienburg.
  5. Dimde 2019, 136-188.
  6. For relevant inscriptions s. Dimde 2019, 144-171.
  7. See for example the building inscription from Colonia Iulia Equestris/Nyon (Germania Superior), which convincingly was ascribed to the civil amphitheater by its excavators, being reconstructed as follows: [Imperatori Caesari diui Neruae] | f(ilio) [Neruae Traia]no Aug(usto) German(ico) | [Dacico pontif(ici)] maxim(o) trib(unicia) pot(estate) XV | [imperatori VI co(n)s(uli) V] designat(o) VI p(atri) p(atriae) | [Equestr(es)] publice]. Frei-Stolba et al. 1998, 186, fig. 6. Dimde 2019, 172-177, 312-313, cat. 1.7.2.
  8. For example, EAOR V, 34-35, cat.-no. 7 (= CIL XII, 697): C. Iunius Priscus, duouir and flamen, paid for a podium and silver statues in the amphitheater of Arelate/Arles (Gallia Narbonnensis). Or EAOR VI, 42-46, cat.-no. 3 (CIL, VI, 1763): Rufinius Caecina Felix Lampadius, uir clarissimus et inlustris and praefectus urbi, had – amongst others – the sand of the Colosseum’s arena in Rome refurbished.
  9. Dig. 50.10.3: A private person is allowed to build a new building even without the permission of the emperor, except it is either a circus, a theater or an amphitheater. […] But it is not allowed that this building be inscribed with the name other than the emperor or the one, with whose money this building was constructed (translation by the author). Dimde 2019, 137-139.
  10. Futrell 1991, 165-166. Bomgardner 2000, 197-201. Horster 2001, 212-213. Puk 2014, 250. Dimde 2019, 138.
  11. EAOR VI, 39-41. Cf. Borhy 2009, 94-123; Dimde 2019, 136-139, 181.
  12. Corzo Sánchez1994, 187-212. Cf. Dimde 2019, 140, n. 1028 with further bibliography. For pictures of the remains see Amphitheater (amphi-theatrum.de) (29.6.2022).
  13. CIL 3, 14359,2 (= AE 1901, 247 = EDH: HD032973 = Borhy 2009, 96-97, no. 15). Golvin 1988, 135 n. 380, 136. Futrell 1991, 220. Beutler 2013, 29-32. Dimde 2019, 156-158 with n. 1127.
  14. Ritterling 1925, 1749-1752. Beutler 2013, 21. Dimde 2019, 154-156.
  15. AE 1955, no. 137 (= EDH: HD019350). Bomgardner 2002, 180-181. Dimde 2019, 153-154. The inscriptions date to 194 CE.
  16. Cf. Golvin 1988, no. 111, Planche XLIV,2. Bomgardner 2002, 180, fig. 4.6. Dimde 2019, 153.
  17. Dimde 2019, 153-154.
  18. Comparetti 1910, 266-277. For a new commentary on this papyrus see Dimde 2019, 265-280.
  19. Comparetti 1910, 274-276, fragment no. 17. Dimde 2019, 275-278.
  20. Klumbach 1974, 67-69, pls. 52-54. Dimde 2019, 285-292, cat.-nos. 2.7.2 and 2.8.2 with further bibliography, figs. 10-12. See also B. Dimde, F. Willer (forthcoming): „Ins Visier genommen: Neue Forschungen zu einem Gladiatorenhelm der legio XV primigenia”, in: M. Müller, ed., Xantener Berichte, Oppenheim a. R.
  21. Rea 2001, 245-275, with a very good collection of depictions as well as literary, epigraphical, and archaeological source material on the capture, transport, and guard of wild animals for the amphitheaters. Cf. Epplett 2014, 505-519, with a guide to further reading. See also Dimde 2019, chapter 3.2 Venatio, Vivarium, ursarius – Das Militär und die Logistik der Tierschauspiele in Germania Superior und Inferior, 231-257.
  22. The inscription dates to the end of the 1st/beginning of the 2nd century CE. EAOR V, 83-84, no. 48, Pl. XXI, fig. 2. Galsterer 2010, 45. Dimde 2019, 235-23239, 333-334 cat. 2.2.3.
  23. Epplett 2001, 211-217. Epplett 2014, 512-513. Dimde 2019, 235 f.
  24. AE 1987, no.867. AE 1999, 445, no. 1327. EDH: HD012752. Epplett 2001, 212-213. Epplett 2014, 512. Dimde 2019, 239-240.
  25. CIL 13, 8639. AE 1901, no. 72. EAOR V, 85, no. 50, Pl. XXII, fig. 1. Dimde 2019, 354-355, cat. 2.8.3, with detailed bibliography. On the interpretation of the statue see Dimde op. cit., 231-232.
  26. Two inscriptions have been unearthed so far: One is a metrical grave inscription from Aquae Sextiae/Aix-en-Provence (Gallia Narbonensis) dated possibly to the second half of the 2nd century CE. EAOR V, 51-52, no. 31, pl. XIV, fig. 1-3 (= CIL 12, 533). The other one was found in Turicum/Zurich (Germania Superior) close to a Roman castellum and is dated to the 3rd century CE. EAOR V, 86, no. 52, Plate XXII, 2 (= CIL 13, 5243). On the possible connection between private ursarii and the Roman military s. Dimde 2019, 250-255.
  27. Hufschmid 2009, 240. Dimde 2019, 231-241, 250-257.
  28. Dimde 2019, 231-235.
  29. No structures of the civil amphitheater above ground were preserved so that the seating capacity could only be estimated to 6000 (first building phase) and 8000-10000 (second building phase, possibly after 150 CE). The military amphitheater was excavated only casually, its spectator capacity being estimated to c. 10000 soldiers. On both, the civil and the military amphitheater, see a detailed description in Dimde 2019, 101-117, 128-136; cat.-no. 2.3.1 and cat.-no. 2.8.1. respectively, also presenting a bibliography and short outline of the remains.
  30. According to Tacitus (Ann., 1.45) Vetera Castra was situated at the 60th milestone south of Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium/Cologne. For a detailed description and bibliography on both amphitheaters see Dimde 2019, 101-117, cat.-no. 2.3.1 (civil amphitheater) and 128-136, cat.-no. 2.8.1 (military amphitheater). Cf. Dimde 2019, 135-136.
  31. Beutler 2013, 19. Cf. Gugl et al. 2017, 80; Pastor 2017, 59-62, cat.-no. 22-23, Tav. XI-XII. Dimde 2019, 154-158, n. 1113 with further bibliography.
  32. Beutler 2013, 19. Pastor 2017, 62-63, cat.-no. 25, Tav. XII; Dimde 2019, 158-159. Cf. also online http://www.amphi-theatrum.de/1458.html (28.2.2022) with further bibliography.
  33. Borhy 2009, 55-56; Beutler 2013, 19; Pastor 2017, 76-77, cat.-no. 36, Tav. XVII, fig. 1. For the military amphitheater of Brigetium s. also online : http://www.amphi-theatrum.de/1460.html (28.2.2022).
  34. Beutler 2013, 19.
  35. On restrictions for private persons to erect a new building in public cf. Digestes (50.10.3) which are ascribed to Aemilius Macer (writing between 211 and 235 CE); Dimde 2019, 137-139. Military amphitheaters were expensive as well, but the emperor could fall back on his soldiers as workmen or the military brickfactories, for example, thus ‘reducing’ the cost considerably.
  36. Dimde 2019, 134-136, with further bibliography.
  37. I would like to thank for this information Norbert Hanel (Cologne).
  38. Dimde 2019, 358, chart 1.
  39. According to M. Müller, head of APX Archaeological Parc Xanten, who conducted a recent study in the civil amphitheater of Xanten. Cf. Dimde 2019, 101-117.
  40. Beutler 2013, 19. [Online] http://www.amphi-theatrum.de/1460.html (2.3.2022).
  41. Pastor 2017, 76-77, cat.-no. 36, Tav. XVII, fig. 1.
  42. On a definition of the term podium see Hufschmid 2009, 39-41.
  43. Pastor 2017, 76.
  44. Pastor 2017, 84-86, cat.-nos. 50, 52-53. All are dated to the 2nd-3rd centuries CE.
  45. Domaszewski 21967, XV, 46 n. 6.Pastor 2017, 84, cat.-no. 49, tav. XVIII, fig. 6.
  46. The base was unearthed in 1856. Gómez-Pantoja 2009, 149-150, cat.-no. 53, tav. XXVI, fig. 4, with a discussion of the inscription’s reading.
  47. Gómez-Pantoja 2009, 150.
  48. Orlandi 2001. Orlandi 2004, 171-172, with further bibliography on the discrimen ordinum of amphitheaters. Cf. Freiberger/Zitzl 2016, 17-21.
  49. Le Bohec 1993, 20-21. Busch 2011.
  50. Cf. Busch 2011.
  51. Busch 2011, 96. Dimde 2019, 224-225. On the uela, see the chapter of S. Madeleine in this book.
  52. Domaszewski. 1967, VII-X, 6-27. Cf. Dimde 2019, 223-231.
  53. Bomgardner 2002, 201. Busch 2011a, 87.
  54. Busch 2011a, 90, fig. 4. Freyberger/Zitzl 2016, 37-38, fig. 18-21. Cf. Albano Laziale (amphi-theatrum.de) (16.5.2022).
  55. Dimde 2019, 139-171.
  56. Dimde 2019, 188-192.
  57. Dimde 2019, 154-158, 189-190.
  58. Dimde 2019, 139-171.
  59. Tac., Hist., 2.67. Dimde 2019, 142-143.
  60. Horster 2001, 425, cat.-no. XXXV 2,5. Dimde 2019, 153-154. EDH: HD019350.
  61. Suet. Claud. 21, 4. Le Roux 1990, 208. Dimde 2019, 226.
  62. SHA, Seu., 14.11-12 ; SHA, Max. et Balb., 8.4-6. Le Roux 1990, 208.
  63. The fragment was found near the amphitheater and close to the findspots of many funerary inscriptions with amphitheatrical connection. Gómez-Pantoja 2009, 83-84, cat.-no. 14, tav. XII, fig. 2.
  64. On the hierarchy of the army of the Roman provinces cf. Le Bohec 1993, 40-42.
  65. Cf. Mann 2011, 57 sq.
  66. Lepelley 2001, 127-128.
  67. Mann 2011, 30-33.
  68. Sommer 2009, 48, fig. 5.1, 58-59, fig. 5.8. Dimde 2019, 22-23, 358, chart 1.
  69. Golvin 1988, 352-353.
  70. Frei-Stolba et al. 2011, 9. Matter/Auf der Maur 2012, 35.
  71. AE 1937, no. 239 (= EDH: HD023604). Wahl 1977, 123. Golvin 1988, 139, no. 129. Le Roux 1990, 205. Sommer 2009, 48-49. Dimde 2019, 146-148.
  72. Gugl et al. 2017, 83, figs. 11, 15, 85. Dimde 2019, 360, fig. 2b (Vetera Castra/Xanten).
  73. Sommer 2009, 49.
  74. Gugl et al. 2017, 78, fig. 2.
  75. Durán Cabello et al. 2009, 22-24, fig. 3.5.
  76. Wilmott 2008, 135-143. Wilmott & Garner 2009, 63-64, fig. 6.1.
  77. Sommer 2009, 53-54, fig. 5.6. Dimde 2019, 96-97, cat.-no. 1.18.1, 361, fig. 2d. The course of the streets is, however, mostly based on conjecture.
  78. Dimde 2019, 97.
  79. Dimde 2019, 188-192.
  80. Frei-Stolba et al. 2011, 11. Matter/Auf der Mauer 2012, 42. Dimde 2019, 77-90, 322: cat.-no. 1.16 with an extensive bibliography, 361, fig. 2c.
  81. Frei-Stolba et al. 2011, 9, calculates for the younger building c. 9 000 spectators. Matter/Auf der Mauer 2012, 35.
  82. For a summary on the development of the Vindonissa canabae s. Dimde 2019, 79-82.
  83. Stoll 2006, 264-270.
  84. Trumm/Fellmann Brogli 2008, 106-115, fig. 4-6.
  85. Cf. Kolendo 1992, 29-32.
  86. Hufschmid 2009, 39-41.
  87. Horster 2001, 425, with n. 781, cat.-no. XXXV 2,4. Dimde 2019, 151.
  88. Matter/Auf der Mauer 2012, 36.
  89. Frei-Stolba et al. 2011, 12. Matter/Auf der Mauer 2012, 36. Dimde 2019, 86-89.
  90. Golvin 1988, 130. Bomgardner 2002, 152, fig. 4.6. Dimde 2019, 154.
  91. Dimde 2019, 85.
  92. Frei-Stolba et al. 2011, 9, cf. figure on page 10. Matter/Auf der Mauer 2012, 35, Abb. 16.
  93. Matter/Auf der Mauer 2012, 35.
  94. Hufschmid 2009, 46. Matter/Auf der Maur 2012, 35. Moosbrugger-Leu 1959/60, fig. 17. For a definition of the praecinctio see also Golvin 1988, 341.
  95. Golvin 1988, 93-94, n. 132. Bomgardner 2002, 180-181. Dimde 2019, 148-154. Cf. Le Bohec 1993, 198-199. A vexillation of the legio III Augusta was garrisoned here as early as 81 CE, but was permanently stationed only by 128 CE. Ritterling 1925, 1497. Golvin 1988, 93-94, 130. Bomgardner 2002, 180. Le Bohec 1993, 198-199. Le Bohec 1989, 25, 362, dates the arrival of the legio III Augusta in Lambaesis to 115-120 CE. Fischer 2012, 21, fig. 6.
  96. CIL 8, 3293. ILS 6845. https://www.amphi-theatrum.de/1444.html. Cf. Bomgardner 2002, 123-124, 152-155, 180, fig. 4.6, pl. 4.12-4.15. Dimde 2019, 148-154.
  97. For a definition of the term cuneus in the context of theaters and amphitheaters s. Hufschmid 2009, 30-31.
  98. Golvin 1988, 85-86, 352, n. 76, with further bibliography. Bomgardner 2002, 181-182. Dimde 2019, 150. https://amphi-theatrum.de/1336.html.
  99. Golvin 1988, 352. Bomgardner 2002, 181.
  100. Cf. Dimde 2019, 136-165.
  101. Golvin 1988, 86.
  102. For definitions and ancient literary sources on balteus and praecinctio s. Golvin 1988, 341. Hufschmid 2009, 25-26, 31, 46-47. Matter/Auf der Mauer 2012, 40, fig. 23b.
  103. Matter/Auf der Mauer 2012, 39.
  104. Matter/Auf der Mauer 2012, 40, n. 69.
  105. On locus-inscriptions of the Colosseum s. Orlandi 2001, 91-98. Cf. Edmondson 2002, 16-18. Freyberger/Zitzl 2016, 17-21.
  106. Edmondson 2002, 25. Evangelisti 2011, 53-55, cat.-no. 45, chart 15, fig. 1. Dimde 2019, 89.
  107. On the structure of military gladiation s. Dimde 2019, 170-171, 186-188, 298-299.
  108. Suet., Aug., 44.2.
  109. In Germania Superior, for example, the biggest military amphitheater (Vindonissa/Windisch, c. 50 CE) measures 111 x 99 m in outer diameter and had a calculated spectator capacity of 9000-11 000. Frei-Stolba et al. 2011, 9. Matter/Auf der Maur 2012, 35. The biggest civil amphith eater (Aventicum/Avenches, after 165 CE) measures c. 110 x 99 m in outer diameter with a calculated spectator capacity of 14 000-16 000. Bridel 2004, 188, 191. Pury-Gysel 2012, 267.
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Comment citer

Dimde, Barbara, “Milites in Caueā: on the audiences of military amphitheaters”, in : Bell, Sinclair W., Berlan-Gallant, Anne, Forichon, Sylvain, dir., Un public ou des publics ? La réception des spectacles dans le monde romain entre pluralité et unanimité, Pessac, Ausonius éditions, collection PrimaLun@ 23, 2024, 163-186, [en ligne] https://una-editions.fr/on-the-audiences-of-military-amphitheaters [consulté le 24/04/2024].
Illustration de couverture • Montage S. Forichon et SVG, à partir de :
Sezione interna del Colosseo con spettatori e finta caccia al leone (1769-1770), Vincenzo Brenna, Victoria and Albert Museum, Londres (d'après Gabucci, A. ed. (1999): Il Colosseo, Milan, p. 166-167) ; Relief dit de Foligno (130×55 cm), Détail, Museo di Palazzo Trinci, Foligno, Italie (photo de S. Bell) ; Mosaïque dite du Grand Cirque de la villa de Piazza Armerina, Détail, Sicile (d’après Gentili, G. V. et A. Belli (1959) : La Villa Erculia di Piazza Armerina: i mosaici figurati, Collana d’arte Sidera 8, Rome, pl. X) ; Diptyque en ivoire dit des Lampadii (29×11 cm), Détail, Santa Giulia Museo, Brescia (d’après Delbrueck, R. (1929) : Die Consulardiptychen und verwandte Denkmäler, vol. I-II, Studien zur spätantiken Kunstgeschichte, Berlin-Leipzig, vol. II, pl. 56) ; Mosaïque dite de Gafsa (4,70×3,40 m), Détail, Musée du Bardo, Tunis (d’après Blanchard-Lemée, M., M. Ennaïfer, H. et L. Slim (1995) : Sols de l’Afrique romaine : mosaïques de Tunisie, Paris, p. 196, fig. 143).
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