Gladiator: The Roman Figher's [Unofficial] Manual

Topics: Roman Empire, Ancient Rome, Roman Republic Pages: 5 (3373 words) Published: October 28, 2014

Gladiator: The Roman Fighter’s [Unofficial] Manual
By Philip Matyszak
Background: Philip Matyszak
Academic training and employment
Historian, professor, and archeologist, Philip Matyszak has gone to great lengths to thoroughly exhaust the avenues that would gain him the knowledge and understanding he sought. His life and studies have taken him to various places, including England, Italy, parts of Africa, and Canada where he presently resides. Although his time in Africa was spent primarily as a soldier, his time in Leeds and London was spent as a journalist, an occupation that puts an extremely high emphasis on the ability to accurately research a topic, and then express facts clearly, concisely, and accurately. Once Matyszak earned his doctorate at St. John’s College at Oxford, he went on to teach in Milan and later at Cambridge. Although he does not currently live in Great Britain, he continues to teach for Cambridge through their eLearning program at the Institute of Continuing Education. Credentials and other publications

Professor Matyszak has numerous titles accredited to his name. He has either written, or co wrote the following: The Sons of Caesar, The Enemies of Rome, Chronicle of the Roman Republic, Greek and Roman Myths, Ancient Rome on Five Denarii a Day, Ancient Athens on Five Drachmas a Day, Mithridates the Great, Legionary: the Roman Soldier’s (unofficial) Manual, Roman Conquests: Macedonia and Greece, Imperial General, Expedition to Disaster, Sertorius and the Struggle for Spain, and The Gold of Tolosa. Summary and author legitimacy

Not only has Philip spent thousands of hours researching Greek and Roman history, he’s especially well suited to bring this knowledge to readers because it has been his love and his life for over 40 years. This time has been spent reading, teaching, and researching the people, nations, tribes, and cultures of ancient times, so much so that he “often feels uncomfortable in the 21st century” (Matyszak). Writing Gladiator wasn’t just a one-stop option for Matyszak, as evidenced by the fact that he continues to teach and inspire students through the elearning program at Madingley Hall. Not only does that show his continued devotion to the subject matter, but the fact that he also religiously updates his personal website and makes himself easily and readily available to those that have questions only further illustrates the love that he has for ancient history. When you combine that love with the work researching the subject matter that he’s done, one can easily conclude that the information that he has will not only be accurate, but thorough as well. Themes

Contributions to Society
Gladiators had a tremendous affect on the Roman world, influencing even the everyday activities of the way society operated. What attracted many combatants to the life of a gladiator was usually because they were either out of options and a life in much worse conditions was all that awaited them, or out of stupidity or spite they took the gladiatorial oath in a show of defiance. No matter how the individual became a gladiator, and if they were among the precious few that attained the wealth and prestige that would come along with the title, there was almost nothing they could do to shed the title of the scum of society just for being a gladiator. That is what is especially interesting to me. The idea that these warriors, who for the most were revered, almost idolized in a variety of settings could be so looked down on when it came to general interactions with the public. But once these men took one step into the arena and “performed” for the crowd, they were loved and cheered just as someone would at a present day sports event. So here you have men and a very few amount of women that are fighting for the entertainment of others, where everyday might be their last, and these spectators could hardly care less for these people—these gladiators that to some degree take on almost a celebrity status...

References: Whitfield, Russell. UNRV History, book review of Philip Matyszak, Gladiator: Roman Fighter’s [Unofficial] Manual. http://www.unrv.com/book-review/gladiator-manual.php, 2013
Matyszak, Philip. Books by Philip Matyszak, About the Author. www.matyszakbooks.com, January 05, 2014
Baer, Jeremy. Interview with Dr. Philip Matyszak, United Nations of Roma Victrix, http://www.unrv.com/book-review/interview-matyszak.phpm, 2013
Mundow, Anna. Boot Camp in Ancient Rome. The Boston Globe. http://www.boston.com/ae/books/articles/2009/05/31/an_interview_with_philip_matyszak_on_legionary/, May 31, 2009
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