Reid’s thesis is in convincing the reader that gladiators under contemporary Roman values and Stoicism are able to transcend their social standings and display virtuous behaviour matching “Olympian style athletes” (Reid 2006: p. 38). She argues that in the Stoic Roman sense, gladiators were athletes, but their contest fails to be a sport while using the Greek model for reference (Reid 2006: p. 37). She breaks it down into three categories: Athletes or Entertainers, Slaves or Volunteers and Heroes or Murders and using the doctrine of Stoicism and Roman values she shows that gladiators while not being voluntary participants are capable of getting better social standing and gain virtue if they accept their position (Reid 2006: p. 38,41). She looks at the controversy of athleticism and sports, the Greeks understanding of areté, virtue, Fair Play, the muneria, the paradoxical ideas of Stoicism and at the heart of it how gladiators cultivate virtue regardless of unfavourable situations (Reid: 2006, p. 37-44).
I will first go into what I agree with Reid and then follow that with the points that I do not see eye to eye. The ability to “transcend” into a higher social standing by being a free gladiator, by means of the Stoic sense, Reid’s main argument without needing to “kiss someone’s feet” (Reid 2006: p. 38) is agreeable. Gladiators do not have a need to follow social obligations because they are salves unbound by society’s rules (Sukava: June 25th). (In this paper, I will not be looking at the gladiators after they fought the Carthaginians). Consequently, this lack of obligation gives them the ability to redeem their station in life and try to be a freedman, an option that the plebs and higher stations did not have as it is seen a...
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...ght down athletes as they themselves could not show their areté in that form. This type of behaviour is seen in modern western culture. Athletes are seen as intellectually inferior as a way to mitigate the envy that comes from their unreasonable success as Bell explores (2013, p. 496). The envy of the athlete continues into higher education where athletes are seen to have “low intelligence, little academic motivation and receipt of underserved benefits and privilege” (Simons et al. 2007, p. 251). The profuse appreciation of athletes has forced other professions, more so the academics to be jealous and therefore create stereotypes that bring athletes down. This relevance should be cause for the recalling of our understanding of sport, the virtus associated with it and how we stand as academics and athletes in order to better our understanding of modern western sport.
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