TASK: Compare and contrast the film ‘Gladiator’ to set the century of Ancient Rome. Discuss similarities, differences, inaccuracies and omissions. The feature film ‘Gladiator’ was a fairly accurate portrayal of the gladiatorial games and all the pageantry and ceremony it attracted. However, while the tone and atmosphere of a living Rome was created, the film was littered with inaccuracies and oversights. This is particularly relevant to the gladiators themselves. The inaccuracies of the film are sorted into three central categories, socially, gladiatorial combat and the Colosseum. The history of gladiators and how gladiatorial combat began is essential in understanding the social status of the gladiators. As this was omitted from the film, the audience were left to assume they were nothing more than expendable slaves. However, this is extremely inaccurate. The gladiators were extremely valuable. Put simply, completely trained gladiators were priceless. There were different types of events of which various combatants performed. Generally, the men were purchased as slaves and were later trained at a gladiatorial school. Yet, this was absolutely overlooked during the film. The gladiators were often men who had been seized during war. Jo Ann Shelton states: “Some were slaves who had displeased their masters … sold to a gladiatorial school was punishment. A free man, who had no other source of income, may sign up to a gladiatorial school.” [As The Romans Did; page: 350; 2008]
When a free man signed this oath, he complied to be considered a slave. The Brooklyn College department website describes the oath as ‘the ultimate social disgrace’. However, disbelievingly, there were advantages. The gladiator became a part of a unified group which was notorious for their courage, outstanding poise, and complete fidelity to its master to his point of death. The life of a gladiator soon developed into that of military discipline and through audacious conduct he was later...
As The Romans Did; pages: 333-352; 2008
Handbook to Life in Ancient Rome; 347
Life And Leisure in Ancient Rome 294-295
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