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ROME-MANNERSAND CUSTOMS.

attractions of hot and mineral springs. Whatever nature provided as suggestive of

health, recreation, or pleasure, was sought out with avidity and eagerly

appropriated. Not only in Italy, but also in the distant provinces natural

advantages were improved by the seekers of profit and enjoyment, and made the

beginnings of settlements. Until the present day the names of many famous resorts

in Switzerland and France attest the Roman origin of the communities in which

they are found.

Others, like the once celebrated watering place of Baiae, are now a desolation,

filled with ruins and poisoned with malaria.

In connection with the thermae were the wine-houses, in which the bathers regaled

themselves with drink. There was about all these establishments an air of

luxurious ease, abandonment to the joys of the senses, indifference to serious

care and responsibility. The Romans were capable of that sort of relaxation which

comes of easy indulgence; and yet out of the very dissipation of the thermae, in

the breast of the half unconscious bather in the calidarium, there still burned

the fierce passion for animal excitements and antagonisms.

This disposition found its food in the circus. No other people have ever been so

madly fascinated by the spectacular and exciting scenes of the arena. "Bread and

the Circus" was the motto of the half million of idlers who thronged the streets

of Rome. All classes of people, from the Emperor to the beggar, were under the

spell of the play. The appetite grew with what it fed on. The city was filled

with circuses. These were built on the grandest scale ever known-vast

amphitheaters, whose tremendous spaces could hardly be crowded, even with the

overflow of Rome. The games grew in frequency. In the times of Marcus Aurelius a

hundred and thirty-five days in the year were set apart for the public

exhibitions of the arena. Afterwards the number was increased to a hundred and

seventy-five days. On the occasion of the opening of the Coliseum, Titus gave a

celebration extending through a hundred consecutive days. Still the Romans

demanded more. After the conquest of Dacia,