9-3 | Play in Ancient Rome


Play in Ancient Rome
An Interview with Garrett Fagan


Garrett Fagan served as a professor of Ancient History at Pennsylvania State University and Andrew G. Mellon Professor-In-Charge at the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome. He taught at York University in Toronto and at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and he held a Killam Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship at the University of Cologne, Germany. Born in Dublin, Fagan trained at Trinity College and later at McMaster University in Canada where he specialized in Roman history and archaeology. Fagan wrote Bathing in Public in the Roman World and The Lure of the Arena: Social Psychology and the Crowd at the Roman Games, and he coedited Archaeological Fantasies: How Pseudoar-chaeology Misrepresents the Past and Misleads the Public. His many scholarly articles include “Violence in Roman Social Relations” and “New Perspectives on Ancient Warfare.” Fagan developed three Great Courses for The Teaching Company that appear on disk and as a mobile app, and he has been featured in the PBS series Nova and on the History Channel for cable television. In this interview, Fagan ranges widely over Roman play—its toys, spectacles, contests, sports, games, comic literature, and jokes and the nature of Roman leisure and laughter. Key words: ancient play versus modern play; games and sport as play; humor in ancient Rome; play in ancient Rome; play in Roman literature; pseudoarchaelogy; theater as play; violence in play