What Type Of Things Did Ancient Romans Do For Entertainment

The Ancient Romans had various ways of entertaining themselves during the days of the Roman Empire. They would often participate in feasts, sing and dance in groups, play games, watch and partake in gladiator fights, go to chariot races at the Circus Maximus, and much more. In this article, we will take a look at some of the popular activities the Ancient Romans participated in to keep themselves entertained.

Feasts were a common form of entertainment among the Ancient Romans, where large dinners were held with friends and family. An important part of the feasts was the wearing of guests’ festive attire, and although some of the dishes served could be quite extravagant, the focus was on good company and conversation. The Ancient Romans also enjoyed playing various games and sports, with some even betting money on them. Popular board games included dice, knucklebones, and merels. Along with joint boards, some also indulged in individual sports, such as running, javelin, wrestling, swimming and archery.

The most popular form of entertainment in Ancient Rome were the gladiator fights, where two combatants would fight in an arena in front of a large crowd. Spectators would cheer, gamble, and jeer as they watched these battles and the gladiators often fought to the death. Despite being a savage and brutal form of entertainment, it was also one of the most popular and some gladiators even became household names, like Spartacus and Maximus.

The Circus Maximus, which was built in the 6th century BC, was a large stadium in Rome where the people could watch chariot races from four teams: Red, White, Green and Blue. This stadium was the oldest and largest in the Roman world and could seat more than 250,000 people. It was a remarkably popular form of entertainment and people would often gamble on who they thought would win the races.

Lastly, the Ancient Romans were also fond of music and dance. They would often gather in large groups and perform traditional songs and dances. Music was a huge part of Ancient Roman life and often served to commemorate important events, such as the victory of a battle or marriage. It was also used to express religion and during religious ceremonies. The Ancient Romans also used their music to make political statements, and it was even used to pay homage to their gods and goddesses.


Games were popular among the Ancient Romans, with dice and knucklebones being among the most favoured ones. Together with board games, the Ancient Romans also participated in individual sports such as running, javelin, wrestling, swimming and archery. They also could cheer for their favourite charioteers at the Circus Maximus, where four-horse chariot teams competed against each other. It was a very popular form of entertainment and some wealthy Romans even put their money on charioteers they thought would win the race.

Team sports were also part of the Ancient Roman entertainment, such as handball and football, which were both popular. Romans also played ball games such as Harpastum and Troy. In these games, two teams competed against each other and had to get a ball over the opposite team’s line. It was similar to modern day football, but it was more violent and vicious – it was not uncommon for players to get injured.

Romans could also participate in boxing, which was mainly for entertainment, but also very violent and bloody. death was not uncommon in these fights, as well as other forms of entertainment such as gladiator fights. Even though these fights were violent, they were still very popular among the people.

The Ancient Romans were also fond of music and dancing, and they used these activities to celebrate important victories and pay tribute to the gods. Music had a great significance in the Ancient Roman society and was often used to commemorate events and express religion. Everyone was encouraged to participate in music and singing, and these activities were seen as a way to honor the gods.

Religion and Political Life

Religion was a major part of the Ancient Roman culture, and much of their daily life revolved around their gods and goddesses. This was reflected in their entertainment, with festivals and rituals being held in honour of the gods that were celebrated by the whole community. They also partook in various religious ceremonies, such as banquets and sacrifices, with the intention of appeasing the gods and goddesses.

Politics also played a major role in the daily life of an Ancient Roman. As the ruling power in the Roman world, the Senate and its members had a large influence on society. This was reflected in the entertainment of the time, with political discussions and debates often held at feasts and gatherings.

The rulers of Rome also used their entertainment to promote their ideals and gain support from their citizens. This was done by displaying themes of loyalty and patriotism during their gladiator fights and chariot races. It was also common for Roman rulers to throw lavish feasts and gatherings where they could be seen as generous and powerful leaders.

The Ancient Romans also used their entertainment as a form of propaganda, to spread the ideals of the Empire. This was done through art, literature, and plays. These plays were often used to express Roman values and celebrate the successes of the Empire.

Effects on Modern Day Society

The influence of Ancient Roman entertainment is still visible in today’s culture. Much of the music and festivals we have today have their roots in the Ancient Roman world. The theatre, chariot races at the Circus Maximus, and gladiator fights have all survived in some form in modern day society.

The gladiator fights are now more of a sport than a form of entertainment, and the chariot races have been replaced by horse racing, but their original roots can still be seen in these sporting events. Similarly, festivals and feasts are still part of our culture, with the Ancient Roman customs often being included in the celebrations.

The Ancient Roman entertainment has also survived in our language. Words like stadium, circus, comedy, and satire were all terms used by the Ancient Romans to describe their entertainment. Even today, we still use these words to refer to these activities.

Lastly, the Ancient Romans were fond of symbols and emblems, which are still part of our culture today. Swastikas, laurel wreaths and other symbols are often used to signify victory or power, and their origins lie in the Ancient Roman Empire.


The Ancient Romans had various forms of entertainment, from feasts and board games to chariot races and gladiator fights. These activities were popular amongst the Roman people and have had a lasting impact on our current culture. From the art and literature to the language and symbols found in our modern day life, the influence of Ancient Roman entertainment can still be seen in our society.

Moshe Rideout is a professional writer and historian whose work focuses on the history of Ancient Rome. Moshe is passionate about understanding the complexity of the Roman Empire, from its architecture to its literature, political systems to social structures. He has a Bachelor's degree in classic studies from Rutgers University and is currently pursuing a PhD in classical archaeology at UMass Amherst. When he isn't researching or writing, he enjoys exploring ruins around Europe, drawing inspiration from his travels.

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