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Gladiatorial games and what made them so exciting

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Gladiatorial games and what made them so exciting Introduction A gladiator's life is one of mystery. There is no way of finding out the true feelings or how scared a gladiator was before he walked through the massive, intimidating gates of the coliseum, into a fight which could lead to his death. In this essay I will explain what made the games such an intricate and exciting part of Roman lives and how they were treated on there journey to the coliseum. I will also try and look into the feelings of the gladiators and how their feelings could have made the games more exciting. The meaning of a gladiator and how they became gladiators A gladiator meant a sword fighter, or a fighter in an arena. A gladiator must have fought another combatant or a wild beast in public to be known as one. They originated from funeral processions. In roman times they operated under the belief that when a very important man died, his spirit would need to require a 'blood sacrifice' to survive in the afterlife. Supposedly, the dead spirits would not survive or be satisfied without this 'blood sacrifice'. Gladiators were usually recruited from criminals, slaves (especially captured fugitives), and prisoners of war. Criminals, having lost their citizen rights and slaves and prisoners of war having none, had no choice about becoming a gladiator, if they had the physical and emotional make-up necessary for the profession. There were many occasions however of a free born man who voluntarily chose the profession and pledged themselves to the owner, 'lanists', of a gladiatorial 'famillia' by swearing an oath. But why would a free man drop to the lowest social status and have to be embarrassed by making the oath? Well there are many good reasons; although he may have lost all citizen rights he can restore some dignity by taking on the hardest, most brutes job in roman times. ...read more.


If the retiarius was successful then the crowd would give him a 'thumbs pressed' signal. If the crowd gave him this signal the retiarius would walk away alive, however if he got the 'thumbs turned' signal he would be killed. He would be killed amidst a fanfare of trumpets. The actual meaning of the phrases 'thumbs pressed' and the 'thumbs turned' is not 100 per cent certain. It is said the thumb represents the gladiator's sword. The modern phrases 'thumbs up' and thumbs down' are said to be a misunderstanding of the above phrases. The second scene e.g. the fight in the middle shows a fight between a two heavily armoured gladiators of uncertain types. However I feel they are two Thracian gladiators because they have square shields okra and fully visor helmets with bent swords. Next to them is another Thracian. He has a small shield and is standing waiting whilst his opponent puts his finger up to beg for mercy. It is clear his opponent is heavily armoured. He is appealing to the 'Lanista'. The lanista is a referee or a trainer. He is holding a whip so he can keep the gladiators under control at all times. This may be a con because it stops full on gladiator fights and the referee may stop it at very tense moments however the excitement would still be there. Advertisement at the games . This type of advertising would not be found in programmes or on the television, it would usually be found on walls of houses. This show is a typical small show held by the Roman Empire. This would make the games much more exciting because people would know what to expect and would go to the shows where there favourite events were being performed and their favourite gladiator was performing. Bibliography www.google.com www.wikepidia.com www.yahoo.com The Time Of Event The Event 20:00 (night before the event) ...read more.


It would have also have been a great thing to achieve however some gladiators enjoy fame and glory so much they continue as a gladiator. Modern day views on Gladiatorial fights In modern day films and books the authors/directors make out as if gladiators were treated poorly and how they are always trying to escape. However recent studies show only 10 per cent of gladiators died in combat. The life expectancy of a gladiator was averaged at around 30, but this was in an age where middle class citizens who on average were dying around the age of 20. So this shows gladiators had a greater life expectancy than middle class citizens. It has also been discovered gladiators only fought around 3-4 fights a year. However there were some exceptions such as some men fought in all nine days of trajans shows. From this passage it is clear that being a gladiator does not seem as bad as it has been made out to be. Conclusion In conclusion a gladiator's life differs from gladiator to gladiator. It is all dependant on the master and trainer which the gladiator swore their oath upon. It is also dependant on the level which they are at in training. There are many positives and negatives, for example the awards which they achieve are brilliant. The medical care and food they receive is great. The sound of 50,000 people cheering there name in the coliseum would also enthral them. However some aspects of life would be awful. For example not having a roman citizenship, and in your mind knowing every day could be your last. It is clear the life of a gladiator was ambiguous: on the one hand to be a Gladiator was the ultimate social disgrace and in fact they were legally designated as 'infamia' (loss of certain public rights) but on the other hand, some successful gladiators rose to celebrity status. I also feel the major aspect which made the games so exciting was the different types of gladiators, and the different types of armour worn. Word count : 3,079 ...read more.

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