A form of entertainment
which was greatly appreciated from Republican times onwards were the venationes,
a term used for all events involving animals: hunts, contests between wild
beasts, death sentences ad bestias, displays of exotic creatures and displays
with trained animals.
The venationes were transferred
from the circus to the amphitheatre in Imperial times and became ever more
elaborate, with rare and tamed animals and costly scenery, and the capital
punishment of deserters, prisoners of war and criminals of low social rank;
pieces of mythological drama were also prepared.