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Gladiators - heroes or victims ?


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Author Topic: Gladiators - heroes or victims ?  (Read 722 times)
Ruhi_Rose
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« on: August 06, 2007, 04:58:44 pm »

Salaam Alaikum and hey brother! this is an intriguing topic you've zoomed into. I mean, it's intriguing because of it's sheer brute and barbarity. Yeah, I saw that 2004 production of Spartacus. The leading role of Spartacus is played by a Russian or Serb actor, I forget his name. I could say, I watched this movie and yet I didn't. I kept turning my head away from it and walking off the room time and again because there was just too much violence. I keep wonderin' ... if such a culture existed in any Muslim society of the medieavel ages or even among any pre-Islamic society that later converted to Islam .. I can imagine the bashing and yelling in the rest of the world. It would have certainly lasted uptil now and beyond. However, being associated stictly with the Roman culture who are conveniently presented as the pioneers of finnesse and sophistication, many western historians try to shamelessly give this brutal practice a touch of class to hide their embarrassment. My pleasure of reading this article was that Kathleen Coleman was an exception with no reservations of exposing people the way they were.

This story you linked by Kathleen Coleman was astonishing. My head got flooded with queries and loud comments. The following are a few I'd like to scream about to cool my head Grin


"Most gladiators were slaves. They were subjected to a rigorous training, fed on a high-energy diet, and given expert medical attention. Hence they were an expensive investment, not to be despatched lightly."

"expensive investment" ?? lol - perhaps the most well fed gladiator would be a similar attraction among the amphitheatre spectators as Titanic's box office hit in 1997! If this is civilization, may the world remain uncivilized.


"Remarkably, some gladiators were not slaves but free-born volunteers. The chief incentive was probably the down-payment that a volunteer received upon taking the gladiatorial oath. This oath meant that the owner of his troupe had ultimate sanction over the gladiator's life, assimilating him to the status of a slave (ie a chattel)."

Okay, so this meant even those who were free men but poor joined the hideous sport for money. This must have been someone who didn't care for his life on bit, just wanted his family to survive. He would probably give the "down-payment" to his family and himself be 'promoted' to the status of a chattel slave. I can hardly believe this ........... but I have to cause it's true!


"Some maverick emperors with a perverted sense of humour made upper-class Romans (of both sexes) fight in the arena. But, as long as they did not receive a fee for their participation, such persons would be exempt from the stain of infamia, the legal disability that attached to the practitioners of disreputable professions such as those of gladiators, actors and prostitutes."

This means that receiving money was cleverly and conveniently made a drawback for those poor gladiators who might have needed money for their families even though they might not have cared for themselves. Some would be called "prostitutes" and some "gladiators." So what was the official title for those who didn't receive money for their families to go to their deaths?


"There were some dissenting voices: the philosopher-emperor Marcus Aurelius found gladiatorial combat 'boring', but he nevertheless sponsored legislation to keep costs at a realistic level so that individuals could still afford to mount the displays ..."

The philospher emperor's philosophy of concern only took him as far as money. Just too pathetic for words.


"Both pagan philosophers and Christian fathers scorned the arena. But they objected most vociferously not to the brutality of the displays, but to the loss of self-control that the hype generated among the spectators."

So the religious personalities, the pagans and Christians clerics, only expressed their disapproval to the rowdiism of the spectators. It's like having a soccer match today in which the players are poised to kill each other. But the authorities are only worried about cheering and jeering of the crowds. I think, even the Talibans might not fall this low ... or probably only the Talibans can compete with the Romans.


"Gladiatorial displays were red-letter days in communities throughout the empire ... The combatants paraded beforehand, fully armed. Exotic animals might be displayed and hunted in the early part of the programme, and prisoners might be executed, by exposure to the beasts."

Was this supposed to be the 'opening ceremony' of this 'sport' ? Shocked Shocked Shocked


"The combatants (as we know from mosaics, and from surviving skeletons) aimed at the major arteries under the arm and behind the knee, and tried to batter their opponent's skull."

 Shocked Cry I'm lost for words ...


"The thirst for thrills even resulted in a particular rarity, female gladiators."

As if all this isn't enough to leave one's mind reeling with shock, the practice of bringing female gladiators for the greater joy of the audience also existed among the Romans.
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