Are We Living in a Roman Circus? (Again)

“Give them bread and circuses and they will never revolt”

Nishu Jain
4 min readJul 26, 2023
Pollice Verso, With a Turned Thumb, by Jean-Léon Gérôme

In ancient Rome, whenever the masses grew restless and started questioning the emperor’s rules and policies, they were strategically sent to the circus. Here, they were bombarded with various forms of entertainment to keep them occupied and prevent them from questioning further.

“Give them bread and circuses and they will never revolt” — Juvenal

While the Roman Circus was a physical space, in today’s technologically advanced world, we find ourselves surrounded by a virtual circus of distractions.

From streaming services like Netflix and anime, to sports, social media, and celebrity culture, these distractions have become an integral part of our daily lives.

People are now focused on the games that are played inside the field, ignoring the bigger games, being played outside the field. They’re now enjoying the games that don’t contribute in the bigger scheme of the world, and turning a blind eye to the “games” that really matter.

In this article, I will explore whether we are indeed living in a modern version of the Roman Circus, where the pursuit of entertainment keeps us blissfully ignorant of the world’s…