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Augustus, Chapter 44: On seats at the public games.
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He [Note 1] corrected the confusion and disorder with which the spectators took their seats at the public games, after an affront which was offered to a senator at Puteoli, for whom, in a crowded theatre, no one would make room. He therefore procured a decree of the senate, that in all public spectacles of any sort, and in any place whatever, the first tier of benches should be left empty for the accommodation of senators. He would not even permit the ambassadors of free nations, nor of those which were allies of Rome, to sit in the orchestra; having found that some manumitted slaves had been sent under that character. He separated the soldiery from the rest of the people, and assigned to married plebeians their particular rows of seats. To the boys he assigned their own benches, and to their tutors the seats which were nearest it; ordering that none clothed in black should sit in the centre of the circle. Nor would he allow any women to witness the combats of the gladiators, except from the upper part of the theatre, although they formerly used to take their places promiscuously with the rest of the spectators. To the Vestal Virgins he granted seats in the theatre, reserved for them only, opposite the praetor's bench. He excluded however, the whole female sex from seeing the wrestlers: so that in the games which he exhibited upon his accession to the office of High Priest, he deferred producing a pair of combatants which the people called for, until the next morning; and intimated by proclamation, his pleasure that no woman should appear in the theatre before five o'clock. |
Note 1: he = Augustus
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