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GAMES
(1) Public. Among the Romans public games were intimately connected with religious worship. (For the public games of the Greeks, see ISTHMIAN, NEMEAN, OLYMPIAN, PYTHIAN GAMES.) The Roman ludi, originally races, appear first in the worship of Mars and Consus, the tutelary deities of horses and mules. But it was also a very ancient custom to celebrate ludi votivi, or games vowed on special occasions, particularly in time of war. Such games were usually vowed to Jupiter, the greatest deity of the Romans. These exceptional celebrations were so often repeated that they at length passed into regular annual festivals (ludi stati). The number of these games gradually increased, and so did their duration. At the end of the republican period there were seven sets of games, which occupied 65 days; in the middle of the 2nd century A.D. 135 days were given up to them, and in 354 A.D. as many as 176. In old times the games only lasted part of the day; but they gradually began to take up the whole day from early morning onwards. At a later period they went on in many cases into the night, requiring artificial illumination. The Roman ritual was very strict, and it happened pretty often that in consequence of some accidental interruption or trivial oversight, an instauratio or repetition of the spoiled day, if not of the whole festival, would be ordered, lest the gods should have any cause for anger. The different collegia of the priests were responsible for superintending the games, prescribed in honour of their respective divinities. But in the case of festivities vowed by the State, this duty fell to the high magistrates; at first to the consuls, afterwards (and almost exclusively) to the aediles, and after Augustus to the praetors. The expenses were provided for by a certain sum of money paid over from the public treasury to the giver of italics>the games. For the Ludi Romani, the greatest of all the festivals, this sum amounted, during the period preceding the Punic wars, to about £1,800. After this period it reached some £3,000, and by 51 A.D. had risen to £8,750. At the same time the givers of the games had to make larger supplementary contributious. The demands of the public were so extravagant that in course of time the amount of this private expenditure increased enormously, especially in the last century B.C. Augustus, indeed, tried to check it; but he was obliged to allow his praetors to spend three times as much on the games as was paid for the public treasury. Under the Empire many enactments were issued to restrict the expenditure on the games by law, but no permanent effect was produced. Even after the 4th century A.D. the expense rose to as large a sum as from £50,000 to £150,000. The oldest games were those of the circus, consisting mainly of horse-races and chariot-races, with gymnastic contests, to which others were added in course of time. (See CIRCUS.) After 364 B.C. dramatic representations were introduced from Etruria. These were in 240 B.C., and onwards, exchanged for regular theatrical performances (See LIVIUS ANDRONIOUS). Contests of gladiators, also from Etruria, were fashionable after 264 B.C. But these were only exhibited, during the republican period, at funeral games, private and other entertainments (see GLADIATORES). The following regular festivities were introduced in the republican period, and continued in existence until the latest times: (1) The Ludi Romani. These were the oldest games of all, and were, in strictness, celebrated in honour of Jupiter by victorious generals at their triumphs; hence it was that they included, as a special feature, a procession (pompa) from the Capitol to the Circus; a part of the performance which seems afterwards to have been embodied in the other games of the circus. Originally they lasted only one day; but in course of time they absorbed more and more time, till in the Ciceronian age they went on for fifteen (September 4-19). After the death of Caesar another day was added in his honour. After the introduction of theatrical performances, several days were taken up with them. The curule aediles were, in the republican period, responsible for the management. (2) Ludi plebei. These originally lasted one day, but afterwards fourteen, November 4-17. They were given in the Circus Flaminius under the direction of the plebeian aediles, and early included dramatic entertainments. (3) Ludi Cereales, given under the direction of the plebeian aediles in honour of Ceres, the tutelary goddess of the plebs. The date was originally April 19, afterwards April 12-19. (4) Ludi Apollinares, or in honour of Apollo. These were introduced during the Second Punic War, and celebrated originally on July 13, continuing afterwards from July 6-13. On the last day only were there any performances in the circus; the rest of the festival was given up to the drama. These were the only games for which, in the republican period, the praetor was responsible. (5) Ludi Megalenses, in honour of the Magna Mater, introduced 204 B.C. and held at first on April 4, afterwards from April 4-10. (See RHEA .) They included performances both in the theatre and in the circus. They were under the management of the curule aediles, and the same remark applies to (6) the Ludi Florales, from April 28 to May 3. (See FLORA.) During the imperial period the number of permanent festivals was largely increased. The birthday of Augustus, for instance (September 23), was regularly celebrated with ludi circenses, and the ludi Augustales (October 3-12) were instituted in honour of his memory. Side by side with the public games, private performances were often given by societies, families, and individuals on special occasions, such as those of births, marriages, or funerals. Sometimes the object would be merely to please the public: sometimes to raise money. The giver of the entertainment had, like the superintendent of the public games, the privilege of lictors and the toga proetexta. Charges for admission were made or not according to the occasion. But the admission to the public games was free, it being always understood that special seats were reserved for the magistrates, priests, senators, equites, and particular families and individuals. (See AMPHITHEATRE, CIRCUS, GLADIATORES, SEA-FIGHTS, THEATRE, WILD BEASTS.) Of social games the ancients, and especially the Greeks, had plenty. The cottabus, so popular at Greek banquets, the games of ball, of which both Greeks and Romans were fond, and the games with dice, are described in separate articles. A game of draughts (petteia) appears as early as Homer, and was said to have been the invention of Palamedes. But we have no knowledge of its nature and rules, and have very scanty information about the similar games played in later times. The "game of cities" seems to have resembled our chess or draughts. The board was divided into spaces, and movements made upon it with stones; the object being to get your opponent into check. The Romans had several games of the sort, among which the ludus latrunculorum, or game at soldiers, is to a certain extent known. This was a game of siege. The men (calculi) were divided into privates (mandroe) and officers (latrones), and the object was to take or to get your adversary's stones in check. In the ludus duodecim scriptorum, or game of 12 lines, dice were used. The dice-board was divided into 24 spaces by 12 parallel lines intersected by a line at right angles. Each side had 15 men, one set being black and the other white. Before each move the dice were thrown, and the move determined by the number which turned up. A very favourite game was Odd and Even (Gk. artiasmos, Lat. ludere par impar). You held out so many fingers, and put so many coins, pebbles, or nuts in your hand, and made your adversary guess whether the number was odd or even. The Roman children, and indeed their elders, were very fond of various games with nuts.

Pictures and Media
GAME OF "ODD AND EVEN". (Vase painting, Parts; Arch. Zeit. 1871, taf. 58, 3).
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