"panem et circenses" (Latin)

by Craig Shrives

What does the Latin term panem et circenses mean?

"Panem et circenses" is a Latin term that translates to "bread and circuses" in English. It refers to a concept prevalent in ancient Rome, where the government would provide its citizens with free food and entertainment in the form of lavish spectacles, such as gladiator fights, chariot races, and theatrical performances. The phrase highlights the strategy employed by the ruling class to keep the population content and distracted from important political issues and matters of governance.

Examples in Sentences

Here are three example sentences:
  • Panem et circenses was a tactic employed by Roman emperors to pacify the masses and divert their attention from pressing social and political concerns.
  • The government's distribution of free food and organizing extravagant shows exemplified the implementation of the principle of panem et circenses to maintain control over the population.
  • As discussions about crucial policy decisions were overshadowed by sensationalized entertainment events, critics argued that modern society was falling prey to the allure of panem et circenses.
panem et circenses (meaning)

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