Moments From the Reign of Domitian

So many honours were voted to him that almost the whole world (so far as it was under his dominion) was filled with his images and statues constructed of both silver and gold. He also gave a very costly spectacle, in regard to which we have noted nothing that was worthy of historic record except that maidens contended in the foot-race. After this, in the course of holding what purported to be triumphal celebrations, he arranged numerous contests. In the Circus, for example, he exhibited battles of infantry against infantry and again battles between cavalry, and in a new place he produced a naval battle. At this last event practically all the combatants and many of the spectators as well perished. For, though a heavy rain and violent storm came up suddenly, he nevertheless permitted no one to leave the spectacle; and though he himself changed his clothing to thick woollen cloaks, he would not allow the others to change their attire, so that not a few fell sick and died. By way, no doubt, of consoling the people for this, he provided for them at public expense a dinner lasting all night. Often he would conduct the games also at night, and sometimes he would pit dwarfs and women against each other.

Dio Cassius, LXVII, 8