Definitions for bread and circuses

This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word bread and circuses


  1. bread and circuses(Noun)

    Food and entertainment provided by the state.

  2. Origin: 1914 translation of the Roman poet Juvenal's remark panem et circenses. ("Duas tantum res anxius optat, Panem et circenses" )


  1. Bread and circuses

    "Bread and Circuses" is a metaphor for a superficial means of appeasement. In the case of politics, the phrase is used to describe the creation of public approval, not through exemplary or excellent public service or public policy, but through diversion; distraction; or the mere satisfaction of the immediate, shallow requirements of a populace, as an offered "palliative." Juvenal decried it as a simplistic motivation of common people. The phrase also implies the erosion or ignorance of civic duty amongst the concerns of the common man. In modern usage, the phrase is taken to describe a populace that no longer values civic virtues and the public life. To many across the political spectrum, left and right, it connotes a supposed triviality and frivolity that characterized the Roman Republic prior to its decline into the autocratic monarchy characteristic of the later Roman Empire's transformation about 44 B.C.

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