De la dignité à la célébrité Les aristocrates acteurs et gladiateurs de César à Tibère

Abstract : The participation of the aristocrats in public shows is a paradox. Indeed, while performing gave one immense celebrity, it was considered infamous, and thus degrading. Our work is based upon the study of 18 cases of senatorial or equestrian participation attested in our sources for the end of the Republic and the beginning of the Principate (49 B.C. – 37 A.D.). From Caesar to the middle of Augustus’ reign, in exchange for money or favors, a few bankrupt or ambitious aristocrats sold their transgression and the infamous reputation they had gained by exposing themselves on stage or in the arena. However, the notable increase in these performances at the beginning of our era shows that they ended up being sought after in and of themselves. A few marginal aristocrats, probably influenced by the Greek culture of the agôn, believed they could take advantage of the change in the Roman regime to modify the aristocratic ethos and turn these shows into sites of competition and legitimization. Others, most of whom were young men disenchanted with the political evolution or lacking the means to make career, were aware of their transgression and played with it to obtain a depraved form of gloria, i.e. celebrity.
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Clément Bur. De la dignité à la célébrité Les aristocrates acteurs et gladiateurs de César à Tibère. Hypotheses, Publications de la Sorbonne, 2012, 15 (1), pp.97-113. ⟨10.3917/hyp.111.0097⟩. ⟨hal-02053773⟩

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