The Country of Panem is covers the ruins of a war torn and geologically changed North America some X hundred years from now. Yet everyone and their mother is named after Roman Empire based Latin and Greek names.

Suzanne Collins has noted that The Hunger Games is essentially a modern (futuristic) retelling of Ancient Rome's era of *Panem et Circenses, Bread and Circus (read, Hunger and Games).

This explains their out-of-universe naming. But since Panem exists in the real Earth, with a maybe not so distant history that includes the real Roman Empire, do Panem citizens know of their Roman heritage?

  • Related: Why the prevalence of Latin forenames in the Capitol?
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Nov 30, 2015 at 9:53
  • Noted, that's out of universe. I'm looking at in universe.
    – cde
    Commented Nov 30, 2015 at 14:47
  • I wasn't posting it as a duplicate canidate anyway. Yet that question also asks for a possible in-universe explanation. But the answers don't really adress that and the question takes a slightly different viewpoint on the whole matter anyway.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Nov 30, 2015 at 16:40
  • There are obvious influences of Roman culture, but who's to say whether they are there because Panem is aware of Rome or because Suzanne Collins is aware of Rome? I think the only way to answer this would be to definitively say that there is or is not evidence of the characters making a direct reference to Ancient Rome. As far as I know they do not do so but I can't say so definitively.
    – sanpaco
    Commented Nov 30, 2015 at 22:08

1 Answer 1



Or at least some of them do. Obviously most of the people in the districts, living impoverished lives, are fairly uneducated and probably don't know and don't care about such ancient history. Privileged Capitol citizens, however, such as Plutarch Heavensbee, clearly do. Quoting from the novel Mockingjay on which the films were based (emphasis mine):

"Oh, the city might be able to scrape along for a while," says Plutarch. "Certainly, there are emergency supplies stockpiled. But the significant difference between Thirteen and the Capitol are the expectations of the populace. Thirteen was used to hardship, whereas in the Capitol, all they've known is Panem et Circenses."

"What's that?" I recognize Panem , of course, but the rest is nonsense.

"It's a saying from thousands of years ago, written in a language called Latin about a place called Rome," he explains. "Panem et Circenses translates into 'Bread and Circuses.' The writer was saying that in return for full bellies and entertainment, his people had given up their political responsibilities and therefore their power."

I think about the Capitol. The excess of food. And the ultimate entertainment. The Hunger Games. "So that's what the districts are for. To provide the bread and circuses."

"Yes. And as long as that kept rolling in, the Capitol could control its little empire. Right now, it can provide neither, at least at the standard the people are accustomed to," says Plutarch. "We have the food and I'm about to orchestrate an entertainment propo that's sure to be popular. After all, everybody loves a wedding."

  • The same answer I would have placed if this went unanswered for another week.
    – cde
    Commented Dec 9, 2015 at 4:14
  • Was this dialogue in the movie at all?
    – sanpaco
    Commented Dec 11, 2015 at 20:37
  • @sanpaco No, I don't think so. Commented Dec 11, 2015 at 20:53
  • @sanpaco no, most likely cause Plutarch ' s actor Hoffman had passed away during filming.
    – cde
    Commented Dec 13, 2015 at 5:05

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