chapter  3
87 Pages

Gladiator Games in Action

The munus, whether large or small, required elaborate preparation. Theeditor had to allow sufficient time for procuring a worthy gladiator troupe and all the apparatus necessary for putting on a show. Machinery and stage properties were part of the tradition of munera, especially in amphitheatres with an underground area. Procrastination by the editor could only result in a cancelled show. The architect Vitruvius stresses promptness as an essential quality of the sponsor of a munus:

This fault [of the patron not being able to finish the task] exists not only in the case of constructing buildings but also in shows that are given by magistrates in the forum, whether of gladiators or of stage plays. To these magistrates neither delay nor postponement is allowed, but necessity compels them to complete the different aspects of the project in a limited amount of time, such as seats for the spectators, the putting in place of the awnings, and whatever, in accordance with the practices of show business, is provided for the people by means of machinery for their viewing pleasure.1