University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004. — 184 p. — (Divinations: Rereading Late Ancient Religion). The book of Revelation presents a daunting picture of the destruction of the world, complete with clashing gods, a multiheaded beast, armies of heaven, and the final judgment of mankind. The bizarre conclusion to the New Testament is routinely cited as an example of the early Christian renunciation of the might and values of Rome. But Christopher A. Frilingos contends that Revelation's relationship to its ancient environment was a rather more complex one. In Spectacles of Empire he argues that the public displays of the Roman Empire—the games of the arena, the execution of criminals, the civic veneration of the emperor—offer a plausible context for reading Revelation. Like the spectacles that attracted audiences from one end of the Mediterranean Sea to the other, Revelation shares a preoccupation with matters of spectatorship, domination, and masculinity.
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