Gladiator Games

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Entertainment has always played a important part in peoples life’s. We can go long back in the history books and see that entertainment always has been a big part of the culture that brings people together. People can feel connected cheering their favorite team our country to victory -and if not victory- feel the same connection when lost. Entertainment reveals something about the culture of its practitioners. In art you are bringing back the history in visual form and with music you can feel and listen to lyrics and songs revealing something about how people felt in that time. But what does the gladiatorial games reveal about the Roman empire, and most importantly what does it reveal about the Roman people?

The first Roman gladiatorial games were held in 246 BCE by Marcus and Decimus Brutus in honor of their father, Junius Brutus, as a funeral gift for the dead. It was a relatively small affair that included the combat of three pairs of slaves in the Forum Boarium (a cattle market). But gradually the gladiatorial spectacle became separated from the funeral context, and was staged by the wealthy as a way to show their power and influence the local community. Most gladiators were slaves, prisoners of war or criminals, but about half of the men were volunteers and took on the status of a slave (gladiator) for an agreed period of time. But why would a free man want to become a gladiator?

A man who became gladiator felt that his life took a new meaning. He became a member of a group that was known for its courage, good morale, and absolute loyalty to its master in to the very end of death. His life became a model of military discipline and through courageous behavior he was also now capable of achieving honor similar to what was “enjoyed” by Roman soldiers on the battlefield. In the arena, the volunteer gladiator could feel his fantasy of military glory and fame in front of an admiring crowd, the same fame that modern athletes enjoy today. Even emperors...
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