The ideological function of Greek athletics changed during the Roman period. While in the Classical era athletics represented a stage of preparation in the career of future citizens/soldiers, in the Roman age it served the new ideology of “bread and circuses”. In many cities, especially those of Asia Minor, athletic games were organized as part of the new, imperial cult, while the introduction of professionalism led gradually to the adoption of negative practices such as bribery and to the elimination of the idealistic side of athletics.