Munera (ancient Rome)
In ancient Rome, munera (Latin plural) were public works provided for the benefit of the Roman people (populus Romanus) by individuals of high status and wealth. The word munera, singular munus (cf. English "munificence") means "duty, obligation", expressing the individual's responsibility to provide a service or contribution to his community. Munera are owing to the private largesse of an individual, in contrast to the ludi, "games," athletic contests or spectacles sponsored by the state.
The most famous of the munera were the gladiatorial contests, which began as a service or gift rendered to the dead at funeral games; see Gladiator: Origins.
- Edward Bispham, From Asculum to Actium: The Municipalization of Italy from the Social War to Augustus (Oxford University Press, 2007), pp. 15 and 26.
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