roman  blood, gore, gladiators, circus, fun and games


The Games, the Colosseum, the Blood, the Gore, the Endless Days Each Year of Packed Stadiums, of Humans Screaming for More.  
  • Why the spectacles?
  • What did they accomplish, what was their impact?
  • Why would the civilized people of that time create or promote these events?
  • Why did they participate so readily?
  • What would YOU have been doing?

Gladiator: The Film

REVIEWS/ANALYSIS:THE QUESTION - For Those Gladiator Gurus Who Have Seen the Movie.
What was factual, what was fiction? Both in specifics and in a general manner. In what ways does it portray the Roman Empire of that time accurately. Fom the movie and your thinking, what conclusions do you haves about the reasons for the games, and Colosseum, and the blood and gore, and endless days each year of packed stadiums of humans screaming for more. Evaluate, comment on the reasons for the spectacles and for the government's use of them, what they caused and what they accomplished.
"Gladiator is a movie based on actual people that lived thousands of years ago in ancient Rome. Gladiator, the story behind the movie is the story of the actual people from ancient Rome; Commodus, Marcus Aurelius, Narcissus (whom killed Commodus). The gladiator of ancient Rome fought (many times to the death) for the pleasure and entertainment of the populous. The Roman Gladiators were courageous and young/strong men, that if beaten in the collosseum, would either be spared or killed on the spot. The gladiator living or dying depended on the mood of the crowds in the collosseum. Rome, the gladiators, Commodus, Marcus Aurelius, Narcissus and ancient Roman ways."
Gordianus Goes to Hollywood
Interesting commentary on what is wrong with the movie from historian and mystery writer S. Saylor.


The Games

Spartacus - An Historical Background
The Spartacus film commentary by College of New Rochelle professor. Violence Enters Politics, Revolt of the Generals, Rise of Spartacus and his significance.  Excellent chronology and explanations.  "' The sources make clear that Spartacus endeavored to bring his forces out of Italy toward freedom rather than to reform or reverse Roman society. The achievements of Spartacus are no less formidable for that. The courage, tenacity, and ability of the Thracian gladiator who held Roman forces at bay for some two years and built a handful of followers into an assemblage of over 120,000 men can only inspire admiration.'"
The Arena:  Gladiatorial Games Spend a day at the Arena!
The Arena was more than just a place for gladiatorial combat. The arena was an integral part of Roman culture. It layed an important political role as well as entertainment for the masses.
Blood Sports
"Entertainment has always played in important part in human history. People go to great lengths to escape their mundane lives. From the plays that Shakespeare wrote in the Elizabethan era to professional sports today, each civilization had its unique way to find enjoyment. Roman citizens, surrounded by a barbaric age filled with violence, found their escape in the form of gladiatorial combat. Chaos reigned in ancient Rome. The blood of the battlefield in territorial conquest was equalled only by the blood spilled as a result of political ambition. The people of the Roman empire found a sport that matched their lives."
Ending the Fight
"To make sure the loser wasn't pretending to be dead, an attendant dressed as Mercury would touch him with his hot iron wand. Another attendant, dressed as Charon, would hit him with a mallet."  And then the Gladiator's arsenal.
Entertainment in Ancient Roman
" If transported back to Rome, modern-day Americans would find much of Roman entertainment extremely violent; especially the thousands of gladiator contests and animal fights sponsored by Trajan to celebrate his military victories, with their many public deaths of both people and wild animals. In the theater, the Romans seem to have had little patience with Greek tragedy and preferred comedies, often loosely based on Greek originals. Religion also provided public spectacle and entertainment; religious festivals provided more and more holidays in the Roman calendar. "  
 "Some upper-class Romans were appalled at the brutality of the games but justified them as a means of directing popular anger away from the elite. A much larger group defended the gladiatorial games as useful lessons in bravery and courage in the face of death. The wild beast hunts were justified on the grounds that the animals slain were themselves vicious and cruel. Their death was seen as demonstrating the power of Rome to control the natural environment, which in ancient times was much more threatening than it is now. Symbolically the hunts represented Roman order over the chaos of disorderly nature. The gladiatorial games were sometimes seen in a similar way. The gladiators were outcasts; their bravery sometimes won them freedom and reentry into a society they had rejected as criminals or lost. The festivals, then, were ritual reaffirmations of the social, political, and natural orders.
The Games
Theatrical festivals, circus games, chariot races, gladiatorial, wild beast hunts, public executions, sea battles, disasters. "Not only was the official Roman working day a short one by modern standards, but there were comparatively few working days in the year, except for slaves, who in any case were not allowed to attend public entertainments as spectators. In the reign of Claudius, 199 days in the year were designated public holidays, 90 of which shows were offered at public expense: in the middle of the fifth century AD, there were 200 holidays a year, on 175 of which public games were held."
Ludi - (The Games):  Public Games, Chariot Races, Gladiators, Theatre, Games Calendar
The Blood-Red Menagerie
Extensive information about the killing of animals in Rome.  Another site, "The Spectacle of Nature: Exotic Animals and Roman Culture", is down now.  But the quote from it is an excellent summary.
"The late Republic and all the emperors used public games and spectacles featuring exotic animals as entertainment for the masses. . . By 25 BC, leopards, hippos, lions, rhinos, apes, elephants, giraffe, and crocodiles were all exhibited at the Circus Maximus. . . Not only did one have to pay several different kinds of professionals-- trappers and hunters, keepers, trainers, and veterinarians-- for highly skilled and dangerous work; one also had to maintain special facilities for animals (imagine what would be involved in keeping a few elephants or great cats on your property). . . .Exotic animals usually had a short life-span in Rome. Many were struck down from European diseases that were new to them and hence especially dangerous; others failed to acclimatize to the strange climate; but many others were killed for sport and show. . .Large or dangerous animals were thrown into the ring with Christian martyrs, condemned criminals, or pitted against professional fighters and hunters.
 Vast numbers of animals could be killed at a time in special events like imperial marriages, birthdays, accession anniversaries, or surviving assassination attempts." Toynbee considered it paradoxical "that a people that was so much alive to the interest and beauty of the animal kingdom, that admired the intelligence and skill to be found in so many of its representatives, that never seemed to tire of the sight of rare and unfamiliar speciments, that displayed such devotion to its pets, should yet have taken pleasure in the often hideous sufferings and agonizing deaths of quantities of noble creatures."
The Gladiator
The whole field!  Origin, gladiator types, experience, amphitheater, politics, culture, the hunt, animals, capital punishment.
Classics Technology Center - The Gladiator
"Because of the movie "Gladiator," CTCWeb's editors thought you might want to learn more about gladiators and gladiatorial combat.  You will find links to historical information that we collected about the history, origins, and daily lives of gladiators."
Roman Gladiatorial Games
Gladiator, combat, in the Arena, Amphitheater, games and politics, cultural mean of combat and venatio.  Venatio (the Hunt - animas) "Originally, the venatio was a kind of warm-up act in the morning, with the main event, gladiatorial combat, taking place in the afternoon. As this event gained popularity, it became a spectacle that audiences sought out for its own sake. The venatio was no longer combined with gladiatorial combat and was held in prime time in the afternoon sometimes lasting for several days." Venatio as Capital Punishment.
Spectacles of Blood:  Roman Gladiators and Christian Martyrs  - THE PRIMARY SOURCES
All the original sources including Seneca, Cicero, Tacitus, Pliny, et al.
"While stands the Coliseum, Rome shall stand; When falls the Coliseum, Rome shall fall; And when Rome falls -- the world."  Lord Byron.
Photographs of the CM Site
Circus Maximus: Rome's Astrodome
"The Super Bowl approaches. We feel justified in making a comparison to the Roman chariot races, in particular those held in the largest spectator venue ever, the Circus Maximus. A third of a mile long and 150 yards wide, the Circus Maximus allegedly held 250,000 people."
The Circus Maximus
A day at the races.  "Chariot racing was the most popular sport in Rome, appealing to all social classes from slaves to the emperor himself. This appeal was no doubt enhanced by the private betting that went on, lthough there was no public gambling on the races."

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