The Romans and the entertainment industry, a story told at the Lugdunum museum in Lyon

Until June 11, 2023, the Lugdunum museum and ancient theaters invite you to discover the world of entertainment at the time of the Roman Empire, between entertainment and political weaponry. baptized Spectacular !the exhibition highlights many similarities with our time.

Adored stars, fabulous salaries, by-products, modern man invented nothing, all that already existed more than two thousand years ago. The Romans were great masters of entertainment, to the point of creating a true entertainment industry. This is the fascinating story told by the Lugdunum museum in Lyon, from its own collections and from loans from the Louvre and other institutions.

In all the territories conquered by the Empire, the Romans built circuses, odeons, theaters and amphitheaters to host gladiator fights, chariot races, theatrical performances or even pantomimes. A way for Rome to establish its power and influence over the populations of the conquered territories.

These shows in which we will feel a lot of emotion, a chariot race, a very strong tragedy or a gladiator show with a lot of suspense, favor social cohesion and the cohesion of the population around the emperor, the Empire and the local authorities.“, explains Claire Iselin, director of the Ludgunum museum.

It is an entire entertainment business that is developing throughout the Empire and already, its stars. We see objects bearing the effigy of famous charioteers or gladiators. The beginning of derivative products. Stars who also earn a lot of money, and who are redeemed at the price of gold by teams that work a bit like our current football clubs or Formula 1 teams.

They work like a club, you can buy players, sell them to another club, place bets, they have a certain value, they are athletes and they are very popular. So we will find them in a whole series of derived objects. There are also objects that mention the victory or victories of a team, the Blues, the Greens. And we know that the Greens were very popular in Lyon, as we found many objects that mention them in particular.“, Claire Iselin says.

Spectacular ! Entertainment among the Romans – Until June 11, 2023 – Lugdunum Museum and Roman Theatres, 17 rue Cléberg, 69005 Lyon

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