capitol games


May 28, 2022

The Capitoline Games (lat. Ludi Capitolini) is the general name of the musical and athletic competitions held in Rome during the ancient period. In its older form, the Capitoline Games were officially instituted by Marcus Furius Camillus in 387 BC. e., according to Livy - in honor of the victory over the Gauls of Brennus, according to Plutarch and Festus - in commemoration of the capture of Vei. The games dedicated to Capitoline Jupiter were organized not directly by the Roman Republic, but by a separate college of capitoline priests, were held annually on October 15 and included competitions of runners and fisticuffs. Legends connect the origin of the Capitoline Games with an even earlier period in the history of Rome, including attributing their foundation directly to Romulus; according to these legends, the foundation of the games preceded the construction of the Capitoline temple, and in this early period they were called Tarpeian and were held at the temple of Jupiter Theretrius. It is not known exactly how long the Capitoline Games remained a popular holiday, but there is information that they fell into decline by the time the Roman Republic was replaced by an empire. The games were revived in 86 by Domitian; in the new format, they included both athletics and equestrian and musical competitions, and were held every four years in the summer, following the model of the Olympic Games. The winners of the games were awarded with a wreath of oak leaves. The venue was the Champ de Mars, the stands of which could accommodate up to 15,000 spectators. The Domitian Capitoline Games lasted until 394 (according to other sources, until the beginning of the 4th century), gradually losing their athletic component and, by the end of their existence, completely turning into competitions of musicians and singers.