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Olympics Vs Gladiatorial Games Essay

1509 words - 7 pages

Now that the Winter Olympics are here and in full swing countries can tune in and watch how their best athletes fair against the best athletes the rest that the rest of the world has to offer. There has always been competitions and contests to determine who the best at a particular sport is or simply to show off who has the bigger and stronger muscles. The first of these Olympic Games was held in 776 BC in Greece where they were founded. Although this competition is widely renowned and watched all over the globe even today, there was also another nation that had its own games of grand scale, large enough to even match the Olympics. These games were known as gladiatorial games and were held ...view middle of the document...

Finally there is a difference that not many know about and that is how the Gladiatorial games were in ways a place for people of political standing to raise their status unlike how Greece’s games were solely for the pride of the competitor and his city and or town.
Although these two contests are very different they are simultaneously very similar in an equal amount of ways. A somewhat obvious similarity is the fact that both of these events drew impressive amounts of people to them “…pulled in contestants and viewers from all over. They came from the whole ancient world, from as far away as what are now France and Syria.” On top of drawing in large masses of people both Greece and Rome had a schedule for their specific events “In the morning, men are thrown to the lions and bears. At mid-day they are thrown to the spectators themselves.” The previous quote provides an example of how the Gladiatorial games were held while the Olympic games were held in a similar manner having some events such as racing on one day and wrestling on another “…three days of major competition given over to about a dozen different events.” . The last major similarity is that contestants had to be physically superior to each other in order to win. For example, Roman gladiators had to be better fighters in order to conquer their opposing gladiators just as the Geeks had to be faster and or stronger to attain first place over their competitors. For the Romans in almost all instances if you didn’t win you died. Although a less severe consequence, the Greeks would strive to win because anything less than first would shame the athlete his family and where he was from and or representing at the time of the game.
Religion plays a very significant role in both the Greek games and the Roman games. Greece’s games are held to honor the Greek god Zeus and to impress the gods. Evidence that the gods were such an influence on how the Greeks conducted and participated in their Olympics is how the winners of the Olympic Games marched to Zeus’s temple to get awarded . One should observe that Zeus’s temple is chosen as the location to receive awards instead of the capital of the city. This shows how much the Greeks wanted to honor Zeus with their performance. Evidence that supports the idea that religion had a large role in the bloody nature of Rome’s Gladiatorial games was the presence, in the games, of slaves that wore different costumes of different gods depending on what role they were playing in the game at the particular time. For example, if the slaves’ role was to remove dead bodies out of the arena then they were to be dressed as Pluto . Romans also, because they were not Christian and didn’t approve of Christianity, had Christians be eaten alive by savage animals .
Like religion spectators played their own significant role in these games. In Rome a spectator was subject to be called to fight in the arena if there weren’t enough gladiators, slaves, or criminals to fight ....

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