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Celebrations held in ancient Rome at the beginning of a new saeculum, or generation. Similar games were originally held by the Etruscans as offerings to the underworld gods. The Romans initially worshiped the underworld gods but later introduced Apollo, Diana, and Leto in a festival that lasted three days and nights. More days were added later. The first known Roman games were held in 249 BC, the second in 146, and the third in 17 under Caesar Augustus. Later games, held in AD 47, 88, 147, 204, 248, and 262, included sports, music, theatre, and circuses. The games ceased in the 4th century AD under Constantine I, who converted to Christianity.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Secular Games, visit Britannica.com.
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