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Ancient Roman Gladiators. Essay

1154 words - 5 pages

Aspects of the GladiatorThere are two sides to every story, clearly this was the case when the first Gladiator took the stage, for a revolution that changed history as we know it. The Gladiator was first known as the munus, or a funeral gift for the dead, but as time progressed so did the Gladiator. Many people in Roman society weren't exposed to such violence and hatred, but as society today proves, that very well might be the basis of our societies today. Even though the science of the Gladiator was short lived, it still remains as one of the pioneer sports to evolve to what we have today.The two aspects of the Gladiator that helped in the rise and fall were closely entwined. One being the people who despised such a inhumane act, still found it amusing when a slave was killed or put up to fight. Thus leaving the door wide open for the sport, with little or no contradicting force. In the beginning there wasn't much of an entertainment side of the Gladiator as much as the sacrifice for the dead. Time did tell a story here when Gladiators were starting to be recruited from slaves, criminals, and prisoners of war not to just be sacrificed for the dead, but for the community in the interest of the people and Emperors. Gladiator fights weren't incorporated into the public games until the late first century. When it was though, the people and emperors were swept away by Gladiator mania. Emperors such as Caligula and Commodus both participated in the Gladiator fights with weak opponents though. At least seven other emperors of sound mind including Titus and Hadrian either practiced as gladiators or fought in2the contests. Gladiator fighting was as much a science as is modern boxing. Much of the techniques and forms of fighting we see today relate to the teachings of the ancient Romans.Young women were so attracted to the Gladiator that one daughter of a senator named Eppia, actually ran off with a Gladiator to Egypt, something very forbidden at the time. The sport started to catch on to the public at large, and many people were willing to sacrifice their life for the games. Free born male citizens not of low class or anything would volunteer to be treated, act, and be a slave to the games. The sport had this much of an impact on the community in ancient Rome.Of course, there were Romans who did not approve of these contests(pagans). The historian Cassius Dio says that the emperor Marcus Aurelius took extraordinary measures to prevent bloodshed and death for gladiators. Marcus disgust with bloodshed resulted in his view, "Gladiators in Rome should be like athletes fighting without risk of deadly harm," for he never allowed any one of them to wield an iron sword, and the tips of the weapons they used had a blunt tip. The overwhelming popularity of these contests, and his son Commodus, overpowered his views and although Marcus had the support from many citizens most still attended the Amphitheater for the games. His son Commodus had a passion for the...

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