Compare Roman Gladiators to Modern Mma

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Compare and Contrast Essay
Greg Moore
South University Online

When I was looking for modern items or events to compare to the past I came across something I enjoy watching. Mixed martial arts, this sport has become increasingly popular and it is not slowing down. The sport has roots back to ancient Greek and Roman times dating back to 776 B.C. Mixed martial arts or MMA is very similar to the Roman gladiators of the past, with the two combatants entering and fighting for victory.

In the past mixed martial arts was called Pankrations, in Greek this means “All Powers”. Mythology stipulates that Hercules and/or Theseus created this style of fighting. The first recorded fight of Pankration was 776 B.C when it was introduced into the Olympics. There were two types of Pankrations, ano pacnkration (fight had to remain on the feet) and kato pankration (fight could be taken to the ground), that were featured during the fights. These events were the primary combatant fights up until 246 B.C. when Romans introduced gladiators.

Gladiators, swordsman in Latin, were ancient Rome’s choice of entertainment for the masses. Starting out as private spectacles used by aristocrats to entertain and pay homage to their family at funerals. They eventually moved to bigger amphitheaters, the biggest being Rome’s Colosseum, after the death of Julius Ceaser in 44 B.C. where the state staged fights to appease the public during times of unrest. Gladiators were normally slaves, prisoners of war, and criminals. There were some volunteer gladiators, who were paid handsomely to fight. Most gladiators were taught to fight in schools just like the fighters of today’s time.

After nearly four centuries of having these fights and events their popularity began to wane. With increasing costs and introduction of Christianity within the Roman Empire helped dampen the popularity of the sport. Soon economic hardship and invading barbarians made holding these events harder and in 399 A.D. the...
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