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Lecture 17

Lecture 17 - Gladiators Part 1.docx

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Western University
Classical Studies
Classical Studies 2300
David Lamari

Gladiators Part 1 Origins of Gladiators Gladiatorial Training  First paradox: o Romans simultaneously accept the brutality of these spectacles and show real concern, interest and affection for the gladiators being put in harms way  Second paradox: o Upper class admires the gladiators  Christians made use of the terminology and imagery but they strongly commanded fellow Christians to not only not participate, but not only go in to the theatre  Story of an individual walking past the theatre and decided to go in just once and he became addicted  Textbook story: Christian women had a dream the night before she was to be executed for having a dream o In the dream she was in an area for gladiatorial combat and was going up against pankrationist o She dreamt she was a man going into competition o The referees and ring was gladiatorial  People wanted their executions to be public, just like gladiators Ch. 1: Ancient Attitudes Toward the Munus  Pl. = munera – duties  If someone dies, you do your duty (munera) to give them a funeral  This term became one for gladiatorial combat  Pagan  Before the Christians, there was no one who profess astonishment that people find entertainment in gladiatorial combat  Even those who were opposed to it, enjoyed it  Never a reform about it o Why don’t we provide a greater safety for the gladiators? Why don’t we use weapons with less sharp edges?  None of this Origins of Gladiatorial Combat  Either o Campanians – south of Italy  Images in tombs depicting gladiators o Etruscans – north of Italy  Images of a masked man carrying clubs  Doesn’t exactly depict gladiatorial combat  We go with campanians o Italians, not Romans o Gladiatorial training centers in southern Italy  Lots more evidence points toward Campania  Because combat was held at funerals, in honour of a dead man, the textbook looks at “was this a human sacrifice?” o It isn’t clear whether the gladiators were fighting to the death  Very little evidence says that gladiatorial combat had to end in a death o If it was to the death, it was rare o Augustus forbid gladiatorial combat to the death without his permission  Textbook doesn’t emphasize that this was a spectacle that started as private o It was a family member honouring another dead family member  Gladiatorial combat was always private o When emperors give games, they don’t use their political name  They would say it was given by Caesar o Even when it was part of a public festival, it was still from a private name, you don’t tie your title to it Possible Motives for Munera  How could the Romans find gladiatorial combat so entertaining?  Human life is much more precious to us now-a-days o We are concerned about the risks o Back then, life had a lower price tag o How is this possible? Have we become softer or where they hardened?  Textbook talks about 4 different reasons of why munera was so central to Ancient Rome  Virtus o Equivalent of Arete – excellence  Conjured up specific ideas  “Vir” is the Roman word for manliness – everything that a good man should be  He is a courageous father, concerned about his family, he is influence in the community  Idea of a military man, not so much on looks or physique  Has a moral connotation – can be used to describe women o Gladiators display virtus – bravery, fitness to lead other men in battle – and they inspire spectators to admire this and do this themselves o Roman military techniques encourage one-on- one battle unlike Greeks o The Gladiators is the 1 v 1 fighter o When Rome got very big, they had a professional army  Why was it so popular now?  Humiliation o When Rome defeated an enemy, they made a point to humiliate them o They would force the opponent to dress up and fight one another for the entertainment of Rome o In early gladiatorial combat, fighters had their own ethnicity  A Samnight vs someone else  Catharsis o Means purification or cleansing o By forcing Romans to face death, to watch this gore and face it, it somehow cleanses them of these improper/irrational fears they have of death o Of the three, the prof buys this the least  Habituation o Opposite of catharsis o Become used to watching this and becoming comfortable watching someone die o Writers speak of it being shameful not to be able to watch gladiators die o Those who won’t accept Roman have to be flattened – its childish or womanish to turn your head and not be able watch  Childish to watch something but not be apart of how it gets there o Competed in public as a gladiator o As a child, he cried in public, he couldn’t watch gladiators die  The Emperors  A more practical explanation not in the text  It is under the emperors that you have muneras becoming part of festivals  They were in December and March and April in festivals o There is a reason it is one of these months  Christians hate this – Christmas and Easter  These times reflected birth or rebirth  The image of gladiators who can escape death – Christians hated this  Think that Romans had these games at these times against the Christians o They take these games and gladiators become central to the new Rome that the emperors are building o When the emperors left the empire and travelled around to the lands they conquered, the had gladiatorial combat follow them around o Communities would compete with each other to build arenas for gladiatorial combat  Way for a community to show it’s allegiance to its new master o Romans didn’t have their own past time  Gladiatorial combat was found in Italy, didn’t come from anywhere else Ch. 2: Recruitment and Training  Who were gladiators: “Men of no moral worth, or barbarians” (Cicero) o This sums up the Roman view  Romans had such a prejudice against people who were not citizens Sources of Recruits  There becomes a really demand for gladiators o Eventually slaves of the dead man would fight each other in honour of their master  Upper class Romans were to give funerals and didn’t have slaves to provide, so they wanted to hire humans as gladiators o Became a business  Criminals o Textbook points out that there were so many criminals that were sentenced to
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