Ep: 4 Bread and Circuses

Can a virtuous person care about spectacles like sports?  Like all things, we will discuss the up and downside of this fun but complicated issue.  We talk about bread and circuses (panem et circenses in Latin not panadem as Jeff accidentally says, getting rusty with the languages) and the ways in which sports might provide a diversion that distracts us from important political and social issues.  Don’t worry if you don’t follow professional or Olympic athletics, tune in to hear about whether it is something a virtuous person ought to follow.  If you are a fan of pro sports, however, you'll dig this one.


Joining us for the conversation is Dr. C. J. Armstrong, a Cubs fan who teaches history, classics, and theology at Concordia University, Irvine. He brings a wealth of knowledge about athletics in the ancient world.  We unveil the top five banned sports, the top ten culturally relevant American milestones in sports history, and the history behind Greek and Roman competition.

Topics that come up include gladiators, the Olympics, NFL football, gambling on collegiate athletics, Augustine’s Confessions, Raphael Palmeiro’s anger at Jeff’s heckling, bullfighting, kitten juggling, a meme called Boom Goes the Dynamite, Lou Gehrig, Magic Johnson, Joe Louis and the film “Ring of Passion” (which we can’t find available online), games with goats, classical athletics scholar Tom Scanlon, being a hero, NCAA and collegiate sports betting.