Essay On Gladiatorial Games

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The Roman Gladiatorial Games
"Remember, Roman, that it is for thee to rule the nations. This shall be thy task, to impose the ways of peace, to spare the vanquished, and to tame the proud by war."
Quote from Virgil's Aeneid

"We who are about to die salute you!"
Gladiator (Latin gladius,"sword")

The quote above was the gladiator’s cry as they saluted the Roman emperor, as they stood tall before the gathering crowd. They knew what was to come; some of them were slaves others criminals, a few were free men who fought because that is what they knew and understood. They were the entertainment that fed the bloodlust of the mob. They were participants in the Roman version of today’s ultimate sports and entertainment package. The Super Bowl, the World Series of their times, wrapped up with Ed McMahons the owner of the World Wrestling Entertainment franchise of over the top theatrics and the butchery of public executions. The gladiatorial events of the Roman games were the ultimate culmination of violence and excitement that will hopefully never be seen again.
They fill our imagination as movies are made of and about them. Ridley Scott’s “Gladiator” starring Russell Crow made in 2000 or Stanley Kubrick’s 1960 epic “Spartacus” starring Kirk Douglas. They are the subject of documentaries and magazine articles. They are part of the history of civilization a black mark on the pages of one the most powerful and influential empires to have been on this planet. They are a fascination that one can only attempt to explain.
The Beginning
The gladiator games appear to have been birthed from the Etruscans, a civilization north of Rome between the Arno and Tiber Rivers, a prior...

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...chariot races and hunting events and as Christianity took hold and social morality changed eventually the games came to end all together some time in 523 AD (Alchin).
The Gladiator idea still lives and breathes today though in much less violent attitudes. It is stylized in books and in movies and the word is used to describe sporting contest from boxing to football. We still use the thumbs up or thumb down sign today to describe something as good or bad when it was used in ancient Rome by the Emperor or his second to grant life or death. We are caught up in the violence and try to understand how a people that brought such great art, architecture and the brilliance of a form of government that we emulate with our own in so many ways. We are curious and we let our imaginations wonder but we still in so many ways are captivated by the gladiator games of ancient Rome.
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