The Shows or De Spectaculis
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BISAC: Religion / Christian Theology / General
The Shows or De Spectaculis, also known as On the Spectacles, is a treatise by Tertullian. Written somewhere between 197-202, the work comments on issues and consequences related to the attendance of circus, theatre, or amphitheatre ("the pleasures of public shows").
Tertullian’s views of these public performances in the theatre are that they are immoral and lead to corruption. Tertullian argues that spectacles are derived from pagan ritual rites (the Liberalia, the Consualia, the Equiria, the Bacchanalia, etc.). The performances only excite the crowd which leads to “spiritual agitation”. This work gives insight into the ancient world of the theatre and circus and how Christians should avoid their allure.