The Hunger Games and Roman Gladiators

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For as long as historians can tell, humans have enjoyed watching other people hurt each other. One of the most well-known instances of this was the ancient Roman Empire and the gladiators. Today, the blood and carnage is only depicted in books and movies. One book that has a similar event to the Gladiatorial games is The Hunger Games.

The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterized by large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean. At its height, the Roman Empire controlled approximately 6.5 million km of land. The Roman Empire had a lasting impact on Europe and the world.

The first Roman gladiatorial games were held in 246 BCE by Marcus and Decimus Brutus in honor of their father, Junius Brutus, as a munus or funeral gift for the dead (AbleMedia, 2005). The munus served the purpose of keeping alive the memory of an important individual after death. Munera were held sometime after the funeral and were often repeated at annual or five-year intervals (Dunkle, 2002). In 216 BCE, Marcus Ameilius Lepidus, late consul and augur, was honored by his sons with three days of gladiatora munera in the Forum Romanum, using twenty-two pairs of gladiators. Ten years later, Scipio Africanus gave a commemorative munus in Iberia for his father and uncle, casualties in the Punic Wars. High status non-Romans, and possibly Romans too, volunteered as his gladiators. The next recorded munus, held for the funeral of Publius Liciniusin in 183 BCE, was more extravagant. It involved three days of funeral games, 120 gladiators, and public distribution of meat. By 174 BC, "small" Roman munera (private or public), provided by an editor of relatively low importance, may have been so commonplace and unremarkable they were not considered worth recording. In 105 BCE, the ruling consuls offered Rome its first taste of state-sponsored "barbarian combat" demonstrated by gladiators from Capua, as part of a training program for...
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