Gladiators and Rome

Essay by chel0000High School, 11th gradeB, March 2004

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The Ancient Roman civilization can be portrayed in many ways. It can be shown as a place of elegance, high culture and civilization, the model of civilized life, but when we look deeper, it shows a world of violence and murder, one which is debatably the most terrible of it's time. Of course, I speak of the gladiators. They were prisoners of war, slaves and criminals. And every so often, and emperor, senator or a lady would participate, though such an immoral act would be vulgar and they would be ridiculed, for the participants in the games were revered as scum. Its is not as it is shown in the movies, the games involved violent fights to the death, the stench of blood and gore and innumerable organised murders of great beasts and many people. The blood lust of the spectators, populus and emperors alike, the brutality of the combat, and the callous deaths of men and animals still disturb modern sensibilities.

And yet, are we so different? We revel in games where there is a chance of injury, we go to cinemas that display movies portraying violent acts, we are violent in amongst ourselves, so how can we mock this civilization of people when they are so much like us? Violence and blood shed will be prevalent now and in the coming years, at least their violence was contained in the amphitheatre, our has spread to fill every corner of our 'civilized' world. Certainly, Rome was cruel. The gladiatorial shows are part of this growing culture of war, elegance, and death.

In publicly witnessing such punishment, citizens were reassured that the proper social order has been restored. In this display, the games reaffirmed the moral and political order of things, and the death of criminals and wild...