Sinclair Bell on Chariot Fans

Winner of a Roman chariot race
Image via Wikipedia

Here’s another one from the Toledo Museum of Art … here’s the official description of an interesting talk on the fanaticism of fans ar Roman chariot races:

Dr. Sinclair Bell, Professor in the Department of Art History at Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL, presented his program “Fans and Fame in the Roman Circus”.

In the first century CE, the funeral for Felix, a charioteer of the Red team, made headlines in Rome’s daily gazette when one of his fans immolated himself on his favorite’s funeral pyre. While an extreme example, fan behavior in ancient Rome is not unknown. Yet where charioteers assumed a highly visible presence in Roman society and have been much studied, the fans whom they inspired remain largely overlooked and poorly understood. This talk drew upon a wide range of literary, artistic, and archaeological evidence in reconstructing and reclaiming the interactive experience of the sport’s various followers.

Sinclair Bell is a specialist in the archaeology of ancient Italy and the history of ancient art. He has excavated in Italy and Tunisia, and worked as a curatorial assistant at museums in Germany and Greece. He studied Classical Art & Archaeology at the universities of Oxford, Edinburgh, and Cologne, receiving his Ph.D. in 2004. Currently an Assistant Professor of Art History at Northern Illinois University, he has taught previously in the School of Art & Art History at the University of Iowa and in the Department of Classics at the University of Winnipeg. Dr. Bell’s research is broadly concerned with Etruscan and Roman material culture and art, especially its social history, Renaissance reception, and contemporary theorization. He has published numerous articles, book chapters, and reviews on these and related topics. In addition, he has co-edited five books, including Role Models in the Roman World: Identity and Assimilation (Ann Arbor 2008) and New Perspectives on Etruria and Early Rome (Madison 2009). He is currently completing a monograph about the role of circus spectacles in Roman imperial culture.

via Dr. Sinclair Bell | “Fans and Fame in the Roman Circus” | March 20, 2010 | Toledo Museum of Art.

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