bread and circuses
bread and circuses definition by American Heritage Dictionary
Origin: Translation of Latin pānem et circēnsēs, a phrase coined by the Roman poet Juvenal : pānem, accusative singular of pānis, bread + et, and + circēnsēs, circus games.
bread and circuses - Cultural Definition
A phrase used by a Roman writer to deplore the declining heroism of Romans after the Roman Republic ceased to exist and the Roman Empire began: “Two things only the people anxiously desire — bread and circuses.” The government kept the Roman populace happy by distributing free food and staging huge spectacles. (See Colosseum.)
- “Bread and circuses” has become a convenient general term for government policies that seek short-term solutions to public unrest.