Although the Roman theatre resembles in some ways the modern one, it was quite different. Unlike modern performances, theatre events in Rome were usually a part of celebrations that included hunting, gladiator fights and other ways of entertainment. Firstly, the Roman theatre differs in the way how it was built. According to the popular opinions, the Roman theatre was mainly built nearby temples so that gods could watch the plays performed on the stage. Secondly, theatres were not permanent constructions, and they had no seats. Moreover, the content of the performances differed a lot. In Ancient Rome, theatre performances had a harmful effect on moral values. They included scenes depicting violence, sex and aggressive behavior. Unlike modern actors, whose profession is considered to be decent, performers in Roman times were humiliated. Furthermore, there is a profound difference in the way the actors were dressed in the Roman theatre. They wore masks and chitons – the long robes, and the audience could recognize the status of the characters only by the colors of the garments they wore. Nowadays theatre performances are a kind of passive entertainment, while in Ancient Rome, a theatre was a place where the lower classes could express their viewpoints or make complaints to the emperors.
According to some researchers, the Romans stole the idea of the Ludi Romani, or the Roman games which celebrated in honor of Jupiter, from the ancient Greeks, who founded the festival, called the City Dionysia. Both the Ludi Romani and the City Dionisya are religious festivals. The Ludi Romani was held annually in September and included a procession accompanied with sacrifices to the god Jupiter. On the contrary, the City Dionysia, was held in spring starting at the end of March and continuing till the beginning of April to make a feast in honor of Dionysus, the god of fertility and wine. The main events of the Ludi Romani were dangerous and bloody sports venues, such as chariot races and gladiators’ fights, boxing, and theatrical competitions. Concerning the City Dionysia, it included two parts – theatrical and choral competitions. Theatrical competitions included performances of tragedies, comedies and dramas. Choral competitions were held among boys and men who were singing dithyrambs. During the City Dionysia, wine and other delicacies were given to the audience.