A translation from the latin - panem et circenses. In ancient rome at the time of the Emperor Claudius, more than half the yearly calendar was taken up with holidays. On a majority of these holidays public games were held. Along with the public distribution of food, these games served to deter the masses from revolting.
"Duas tantum rex anxius optat, panem et circensus."
"The people long eagerly for two things -
bread and circuses.")
Something to think about: when I went to see The Gladiator in a theater in Alabama there is a scene where they are throwing bread from a cart trundling around the ring of a colosseum. The voice-over during this part is describing how all the public wants in food and games, that the emporer will destroy rome by giving it to them. I started laughing, looking around at all the families eating their popcorn and watching that years summer hit blockbuster. I stopped when I realized I was the only one laughing in a theater of 150+ people...