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Classical Studies 2300 Lecture Notes - Secutor, Harpastum, Stanley Kubrick

Classical Studies
Course Code
CS 2300
David Lamari

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Sign of the Cross, 1932 Cecil B. Demille
Epic film maker
o He wanted to make it right
Had official Latin inscriptions
He had multiple fights going on at once never would have
happened unless they were condemned criminals
There were all sorts of other gladiator types of combat,
but we only talk about 1 vs 1
All the gladiators looked the same
‘We who are about to die salute you’ – used for those that are about to die
Scene sprinkling going back and forth
o Misunderstanding of a Latin term gifts or food would be sprinkled
around in a theatre, not dust
Spartacus, 1960 Stanley Kubrick
Textbook says here is as close a look as you will get into how it was to live as
a gladiator
Spartacus was a Thracian that lead a revolt
Based on a novel
Scene 1 vs 1 battle
o Small round shield correct
Called him a Thracian incorrect
Doesn’t have the right kind of shield and doesn’t have a
o Categories right a net fighter vs someone else
o Thumbs down should be thumbs up
o Thracians never fight net fighters
o Gladiators were encouraged to fight with their right hands
Rebel Gladiator, 1963 Dan Vadis
Scene no historical tribute there
Amid everything that is wrong, they have a net again
Gladiator, 2000 Ridley Scott
Could pull it off because they had computer generated effects
Have a mase medieval weapon that never would have been present
Being chained together, fighting in a group, walking in blind folded would
make sense if they were condemned criminals, but rarely gladiators
Helmet with two little eye holes worn by the secutor the one that fights
the netman
o They put this helmet on the head of the netman incorrect

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Roman Games
Ball games
Different terms
Small ball stuffed with animal hair wound so that you could almost bounce
o On top it was covered with leather
o Pila and harpastum
Follis ball recommended for elderly and children inflatable, light ball
o For people who couldn’t/shouldn’t exert themselves too much
Sphaeristerion room to play ball games
Greeks we don’t know how often they play
Romans they play all the time
o We hear of street games, people taking turns, or people just watching
others playing ball games
But wasn’t a spectator sport (in a sense that you could fill a
large stadium of people to watch)
They took it seriously
Romans developed a system of underground heating
o Many of them would have underground heating so that it would be a
nice warm room even in winter to play ball games
Attitudes to Ball Games Rules
Lots of medical sources say that ball games were a good way to stay fit
Pragmatic attitude towards ball games
Romans say that ball games gives you good exercise livens the mind and
o Unlike the Greeks that do things for excellence
Story of an older man that was hurting himself while playing ball games
No rule books
Need endurance and dexterity
Person giving a eulogy to a dead man talked about his ability to play ball
Emphasis in the passage not about the will to win, but about the grace, skill
and quickness is
o Says you can’t let the ball touch the ground
o Sounds like volleyball
Not a sport free people would do
Wealthy would hire slaves as jugglers
Never caught on as a hobby like in modern times
Children’s Toys
Romans would bury their children with the toys they liked
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