Murderous Games: Gladiatorial Contests in Ancient Rome

Essay by Spyce255University, Bachelor'sA+, March 2006

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In 201 B.C ancient Rome was a warrior state. In addition to being a warrior state, the size of the Roman empire was measured by the suffering, battles, and money that was endured to become a great empire. This proves that it was in the blood of the Romans to fight and be entertained by the idea of death. The Gladiatorial games originally were a way to honor the dead relatives of aristocrats, but evolved into a massive circus of bloodshed, beatings and death for the entertainment of the Roman people. Also, because the Roman army was notorious for its grueling discipline, it carried over into the decimation among participants of the games. Finally, these ideas of strength, power, and discipline were instilled in the Romans as children and was the backbone of the gruesome gladiatorial games they enjoyed.

The Romans forceful army was so strong because of the training and discipline they enforced.

First, if a unit from the Roman empire was thought of as disobedient or cowardly in battle, that unit would be dealt with in a horrifying manner. Next, one soldier out of ten was selected to be clubbed to death by his former comrades. This type of treatment of the army occurred during the period of imperial development and was believed to be for the armies common well-being. These executions instill fear among the pubic and expressed what would happen to soldiers that were defeated. Furthermore, this treatment also illustrates how cruel the Romans were among themselves and that the treatment of war captives and prisoners would be far worse.

The origin of the gladiatorial combat began with a connection to funerals. In Keith Hopkin's article, "Murderous Games: Gladiatorial Contest in Ancient Rome, it states that, "Men believed that the souls of the dead were propitiated...