Let the games begin! On March 20, the Toledo Museum of Art and the Archeological Institute of America–Toledo will host an Ancient Roman Holiday featuring a Roman feast and a series of lectures about the popularity of chariot racing.
The ancient Romans were famous for both public spectacle and private luxury, according to Sandra E. Knudsen, the Museum’s associate curator of ancient art.
The dangerous sport of chariot racing thrilled large crowds in every city across the empire, and both aristocrats and fans spent fortunes to support their favorite charioteers. Wealthy nobles spent lavishly to import rare foods for banquets, and at least one famously committed suicide after spending his last million sestertii on a final party, Knudsen said.
Speakers at the symposium will tell stories about the people, places and events of those ancient days. The lectures, which will be presented in the Museum’s Little Theater, begin at 11 a.m. with “Racing Death: Ancient Roman Children’s Sarcophagi and the Circus Maximus,” a presentation by Knudsen.
At 1:30 p.m., Carin M.C. Green, a professor and chair of the Department of Classics at the University of Iowa, will speak on “Women, the Circus, and the Defense of Rome.”
Sinclair Bell, a professor in Northern Illinois University’s Department of Art History, will follow at 2:30 p.m. with a discussion of “Fans, Fame, and the Roman Circus.”
All three lectures are free and open to the public.
At noon, a prandium, or midday banquet, will be offered to let those attending enjoy a taste of dining like Roman nobles. Museum Chef Erika Rapp will prepare a three-course meal, which will be served family style. A cash bar will offer Italian beer as well as red and white wines made of grapes grown on Italy’s Mt. Vesuvius, an important wine-growing region in ancient times.
Reservations to attend the banquet are $30 for Museum and AIA-T members and $35 for non-members. Seating is limited. Call 419-255-8000 ext. 7432 for reservations.
The Ancient Roman Holiday is made possible with support from the Anderton L. “Pete” Bentley Jr. family, including his wife Carol, his children Katherine MacPherson, Anderton L. Bentley III and Pamela Thorne and their spouses; his grandchildren; his many friends, and the Anderton Bentley Fund as a memorial for Pete and in honor of his love for all things Roman.
- Toledo Museum of Art | Toledo, OH