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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Stage Crucifixions

In his novella called "The Darfsteller," by Walter M. Miller, Jr., the justly celebrated author of the classic "A Canticle for Leibowitz" has a character saying that wherever a scene in one of their dramas called for a crucifixion, instead of staging it in some way that no one was harmed, the Ancient Romans would stage a real nailing to a cross or a T, using a highly unfortunate slave in the role of the victim.

If true, it's good that the Romans could not have put on very many plays portraying the last hours of Christ.
I minored in classics in college, which meant that I studied Roman drama, not much but some, because the emphasis was always much more on Greek drama, and with every good reason.   And ever since I've paid a lot of attention to everything that the Romans did that has ever presented itself.  Yet I don't recall ever hearing or reading of that particular barbarity being done, in Roman or Greek theater.

I wonder if this is some kind of slander being slapped on the Romans, even if it is completely believable.   After all, in their other entertainments they were into every kind of mayhem perpetuated against their fellow humans that their sick minds could conceive of, probably caused by drinking water carried in by lead pipes and served in lead cups.   Still, it is astonishing that the Romans kept holding those gory games involving gladiators killing each other and wild animals being slaughtered by the boatloads for 800 years or more.   Eight long centuries of seldom interrupted and loudly applauded cruelty!

   --To which today's reality TV shows fondly look back.

   At least, that's the way they seem to be spoken of.   I wouldn't know for sure, because good grace has arranged things so that I have never seen one -- maybe because of having minored in the classics.


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