Græco-Roman Games in California.

Journal of Manly Arts
May 2003

by Arthur Inkersley
Originally published in Outing magazine, February, 1895, No. 5, p. 409-416.

costumes, especially those worn by the women, would meet with the approval of Sir Frederick Leighton, or of Alma Tadema, who has a certain accurate specialty for classical costume." The costumes were the weak point of a show otherwise unique and admirable. The Emperor wore a deep mauve toga, though it is well known that the Imperial purple was much more nearly what we should nowadays call scarlet. The dress of Roman Senators, too, instead of being of all the colors of the rainbow, as were the robes of the Bohemian Club Senators, was of pure white, ornamented with the latus clavus, or broad purple stripe, woven with the fabric, and running down the front perpendicularly immediately over the chest. This laticlave was one of the exclusive privileges of a Roman Senator, though later certain knights were permitted to assume it. It was also a little hard to discover which of the Cæsars Mr. Schroder professed to be. In his speech the Emperor alluded to conquests in Gaul and Britain, thus apparently assuming the part of Julius Cæsar. Yet the Ode which the Vestals sang in his honor was part of an Ode addressed to Cæsar Augustus. Nor is this all: The

games were given in a building intended to represent the Roman Coliseum. Now the Coliseum, or Flavian Amphitheater, was not finished until the time of Vespasian, the ninth emperor. Julius Cæsar did, indeed, build an amphitheater in which to exhibit a great number of gladiators, but it was merely of wood, and was taken down after serving its temporary purpose. It would have been more accurate, too, to have called the place where the games were given the Circus Maximus, for it was usual to introduce contests of all sorts into the Circus Maximus, and by no means to confine the spectacles to chariot-racing or equestrian feats. Boxing, wrestling, running, and the Greek Pancratium, were all exhibited in the Circus Maximus, and gladiators often fought there. But these anachronisms, doubtless, did not disturb the enjoyment of half-a-dozen spectators, and perhaps it is hardly fair to bring the criticisms of exact classical scholarship to bear upon a brilliant and almost unique entertainment, which reflected great credit upon its designers and participants, and gave to many thousands of people much pleasure of a higher order than is usually afforded by public entertainments.

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May 2003