Gladiator Film Analysis

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Aspects of Ancient Roman society and culture are regularly portrayed with the use of modern media. The film, Gladiator, directed by Ridley Scott, revolves around the life of the General Maximus Decimus Meridius. He is betrayed by Commodus, son of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, as he murders his father to seize control of the throne. Relegated to slavery, Maximus fights as a gladiator in the hopes to avenge his family and emperor through the assassination of Commodus. The film depicts numerous concepts of Ancient Rome including themes of entertainment connected with slavery, the roman army, roman history, and religion. This review will analyse the historical accuracy of the film with accordance to Themes in Roman Society and Culture, written by Matt…show more content…
The main theme that the film revolves around is the role of gladiators and their forced participation in the gladiatorial games. This form of Roman entertainment was both accurately and inaccurately depicted through different scenes within the film. According to Themes in Roman Society and Culture, gladiators were well-trained professional swordsmen that fought against other gladiators in an amphitheatre to entertain the Roman people. (Gibbs, 272) The gladiators consisted of slaves, criminals or war prisoners bought for gladiatorial combat by a Lanista, (Gibbs, 276) who was the owner of a troupe of gladiators. The gladiators had the same rights of a slave as they were considered as a property. In the film, the character Proximo Palindromos is a Lanista who bought Maximus. He stated “these slaves are rotten… I’ll give you $2,000 and $4,000 for the beasts.” (Gladiator, 51:30) Proximo treated his men worse than animals, as he had paid more for the wild animals. While training them he stated “I did not pay good money for your company. I paid it so I could profit from your death,” (Gladiator, 52:09) This furthermore proves that the gladiators were viewed as slaves, used to put on a good show for spectators. An inaccurate representation depicted within the film is the…show more content…
After the Germanic battle, Maximus went to his temporary residence and started praying in front of a shrine with many statues of gods and goddesses, including miniature statues of his family members. (Gladiator, 32:15) This accurately portrays Roman religion, as in Ancient Rome, citizens would create shrines, known as lares familiares, within their own homes with statues of domestic gods. (Roman Religion Lecture, 7) The main domestic god in the shrine was named Lar, who would protect all the household members from immediate family to slaves. The shrines also included statues of the family members. Maximus would attempt to pray to Lar for the protection of his family on a daily basis, hence displaying the accuracy to which the film’s characters would replicate the realistic rituals from Ancient
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