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Queen's University

Student Theses - 1998

Amphitheatres of Roman Britain : a study of their classes, architecture and uses

Deniger, Véronique

The last decade has seen renewed interest in amphitheatre studies and the publication of several important monographs. However, neither older works nor the recent publications focus on the amphitheatres of Roman Britain. The amphitheatres of this province have never been the subject of a regional survey. This thesis is a study of the classes, architecture and uses of Romano-British amphitheatres. Such a study is useful in providing an understanding of the architectural characteristics of Romano-British amphitheatres, the manner in which they differed from and resembled those in other parts of the Empire and of the types of activities for which they were used.

Chapter One centres on the military amphitheatre class. It opens with general information on the sites of military amphitheatres and with an architectural study of the three monuments ( the Chester, Caerleon and Tomen-y-mur amphitheatres) belonging to this class. The information provided in this section was obtained from archaeological reports, works on amphitheatres and works on Roman Britain. The chapter concludes with an examination of physical, epigraphical and literary evidence, the aim of which is to gain insight into the function of these buildings.

Chapter Two focuses on urban amphitheatres. It begins with an architectural study of the ten facilities of this category (the amphitheatres at Silchester, Dorchester, Cirencester, Chichester, London, Richborough, Carmarthen, Aldborough, Caistor St. Edmund, Caerwent). The information found in this section also comes from excavation reports, works on Roman Britain and works on amphitheatres. This chapter likewise concludes with an examination of physical, epigraphical and literary evidence, the purpose of which is to shed light on the function of urban amphitheatres.

Chapter Three focuses on rural amphitheatres, an enigmatic group of buildings. Five monuments, including three positively identified amphitheatres (those at Charterhouse-on-Mendip, Frilford and Catterick) and two earthworks tentatively identified as amphitheatres (the Woodcuts and Winterslow earthworks) are considered. The chapter begins with an overview of the monuments' sites and a study of their architectural characteristics. Excavation reports constitute the chief source of information. A brief discussion of various hypotheses as to their uses concludes the chapter.

Vergil's dreams : a study of the types and purpose of dreams in Vergil's 'Aeneid'

McNeely, Shawn

By the time Vergil was writing (40-19 B.C.) there was already a long tradition of dreams in ancient literature. From the beginning, dreams were a topic of interest for poets, historians and philosophers. We find in the literature of ancient Greece and Rome five main classifications of dreams: prophetic, anxiety, wish-fulfilment, oracular and incubation. Other dream-types existed, of course, but these seem to have been ones most employed by ancient authors. In the Aeneid Vergil employs anxiety-dreams six times, oracular-dreams three times and the incubation-dream once. His choice, we may be sure, was in part determined by the necessities of plot and in part under the influences of authors such as Homer, Apollonius, Euripides, Lucretius and Cicero. Without sacrificing narrative immediacy and the illusion of reality, dreams allow Vergil to reveal not only simultaneous events but also a character's emotions, with their causes and potential consequences. Vergil uses dreams in the Aeneid to great effect. Dreams introduct the three main characters in the epic, Aeneas, Dido and Turnus. They motivate the actions of the characters and help to advance the plot to its conclusion. Dreams not only set Aeneas on his journey and mark his arrival in Latium but they continually provide more information about his destination while on his journey. Dreams also bolster Aeneas' resolve in moments of emotional and physical crisis. In a grander and more enigmatic way, Book 6, as a sustained dream-vision, conveys to the reader, at least, Vergil's vision of both the tragedy and greatness of Rome's mission and history.

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