Greece and Rome (Second Series)

Research Article

DANGEROUS REPUTATIONS: CHARIOTEERS AND MAGIC IN FOURTH-CENTURY ROME

PARSHIA LEE-STECUMa1

a1 University of Melbourne, Australia

Roman charioteers had a reputation, and not just for living fast and dying young. Nor was their reputation solely based on the glamour of their occupation, although it is clear that some charioteers could achieve something approaching celebrity status. Roman charioteers (by which I mean charioteers throughout the ancient Roman world) had a reputation of a rather darker stripe. The violence of their occupation, reflected and enhanced by the riotous violence of their supporters, contributed to the perception of charioteers in general as rough, uncouth characters. The gulf between some charioteers' celebrity and their slave status did much to encourage this brutal reputation in the Roman mind.

(Online publication September 27 2006)