Munera (Roman contest)
In ancient Rome
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

, munera (Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 plural) were public works provided for the benefit of the Roman people (populus Romanus)
SPQR is an initialism from a Latin phrase, Senatus Populusque Romanus , referring to the government of the ancient Roman Republic, and used as an official emblem of the modern day comune of Rome...

 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
Ludi were public games held for the benefit and entertainment of the Roman people . Ludi were held in conjunction with, or sometimes as the major feature of, Roman religious festivals, and were also presented as part of the cult of state.The earliest ludi were horse races in the circus...

, "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.
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