The Importance of Gladiator Games Essay

The Importance of Gladiator Games Essay

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During the middle and late third century Roman republic era gave rise to the arena games and became a great phenomenon for the Romans. An amphitheater, also known as a coliseum, housed these dangerous games that potentially harmed the audience as well as those who participated in them. Gladiatorial combat originated as part of funerals for deceased influential Romans. These large gladiatorial games were held by emperors during funerals of important roman officials, but were also included during other occasions. Over time the connection among the gladiator games and funerals decreased, and the upper class put on the games mainly to raise their social standing and gain favor with the public. Many politicians held these highly known games to help them sway votes of power and popularity (Meijer 2003, 27). “The arena was the embodiment of the empire.” (Futrell 1997, 209). The contestants, or the gladiators, had more significance of the Roman Empire beyond that as their role of entertainment.
Alan Baker states in his book The Gladiator – The Secret History of Rome’s Warrior Slaves that, “attendance at the amphitheater was an essential part of being a Roman, a member of a powerful warrior state” (Baker 2000, 39). It is said that the Romans were known for their honor and glory as a reflection of the society they lived in. This may perhaps explain why the gladiator games were popular to the citizens, because the Romans enjoyed observing these characteristics throughout the battles. Most of the time the contestants were slaves, these individuals were bought and traded at the coliseum with the intentions of battling in these games until their death.
Soldiers that were captured at the end of a battle were chained to one another a...

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Futrell, Alison. The Roman Games: A Sourcebook. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing
Inc., 2006.
Futrell, Alison. Blood in the Arena: The Spectacle of Roman Power. Austin: University
of Texas Press, 1997.
Hopkins, Keith. Death and Renewal: Sociological Studies in Roman History.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983
Johnston, Harold Whetstone. The Private Life of the Romans. Scott, Foresman and Company,
Kohne, Eckhart and Cornelia Ewigleben, eds. Gladiators and Caesars: The Power of
Spectacle in Ancient Rome. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000.
Meijer, Fik (Liz Waters, trans.). The Gladiators – History’s Most Deadly Sport. New
York: St. Martin’s Press/Thomas Dunne Books, 2003.
Potter, David S. and David J. Mattingly, eds. Life, Death and Entertainment in the
Roman Empire. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 1998.

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