An essay that explains how the movie GLADIATOR portrays the characteristics of ancient Rome

Essay by mikester January 2004

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World Civilizations- Gladiator Assignment

Contrasting Values of Maximus and Commodus and how they reflect characteristics of Rome

Gladiator was simply an outstanding movie on ancient Rome, a personal favorite. This Hollywood film took its audience to the end of the Pax Romana around the second-century Rome with the last year of Marcus Aurelius's reign in 180 A.D., the last of the five Good Emperors. This brilliant emperor finds himself aging and at the point when he must choose between two people to succeed him in governing Rome in hope that they may restore the Republic. The first and more favored by Marcus is Maximus, an extraordinary Spanish-born general, who fights the Germanian Armies with Marcus Aurelius by his side. Maximus is a practical man who values family, strength, honor, discipline, and loyalty; this draws Marcus to favor him over Commodus, as an emperor and "son." Commodus is Marcus's only true son, by blood; however, Commodus is a selfish, and spoiled, 20 year old men only thirsty for power; he was obsessed with gladiators and constantly trained as if he would become one himself.

This is an immoral man, completely corrupted by politics.

The character of Maximus Decimus Meridushas had a huge emphasis on family. Throughout the movie, we see that every night Maximus asks the Gods to watch over his family even before they protect the life of his own. Whether he was in a designated room for prayer or deserted in the desert, he would always pray with and kiss the figures of his wife and son. After fighting with his army for 2 years, treacherously counting every passing day in which he cannot see his family, Maximus receives the offer to become the succeeding emperor of Rome. Incredibly, his first instinct is to decline so that he...