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Western University
Classical Studies
Classical Studies 1000
Kelly Olson

G LADIATORS Reading: P&P page numbers 328-329 and passage numbers 9.1-9.21 Angela pp. 221-225, 253-261, 293-322 Central Values of Roman Culture • Bloodshed • Military glory • Violence Amphitheatre • “Theater in the round” • Largest: Flavian amphitheatre (built under the Flavian emperors) • The Coliseum • Every ‘Roman’town had an amphitheatre Gladiatorial Combats • Roman word for gladiatorial combat “Munus, pl munera” actually mean “duties” or “obligations” • Usually seen in the ludi, Roman religious festivals • Given 5 times a year, 4-5 days in length • Private munera could also be given Origins of Gladiatorial Spectacle • 264 BCE in funeral ceremonies for wealthy Romans • 3 pairs only • By 183 BCE, 60 pairs • Ludi set up to cope with demand • Earliest artistic depiction is Estrucan, ca. 370-340 BCE (earliest evidence althought not literary) Exam Question Who Were Gladiators? • Variety of situations and persons. • POWs, criminals, and slaves condemned ad ludos • Slaves owned by the lanista • Volunteer free or freedmen: why ? • Poverty-stricken men, wished to escape military service, those with a lust for fighting, etc. The Ludi • Gladiatorial schools same word as religious festivals in which they fought) • Gladiatorial school, run by the lanista • He managed or owned the troop of gladiators • Acquired men by purchase and recruitment • “Familia gladiatoria” • 4 Ludi in Rome: Ludus Magnus, Gallicus, Dacicus, Matutinus. Training • ? don’t know much • Men practiced in the yard at first against a pole, with wooden weapons • Trainers • Non-criminal gladiators were not prisoners in the ludi. Organizing Munera • 12-13 pairs of gladiators per afternoon • Editor – person who organizes and pays for the games • Editors are aspiring politician/the emperor (popularity motives) • Pays to rend the gladiators from the lanista and also for their armor • Really good fighters cost more 1. Sacrifice 2. Pompa • Procession into amphitheatre from long end • Musicians, gladiators with attendants carrying tabellae and palm branches, editor and his attendants, horses, and statues of gods. 3. Prolusio • warm up • men fight with blunted weapons • warms up the men, gives the crowd a forecast of their skill etc. 4. Munera • Men carefully matched up • Placard preceded each man • Two referees: one principal, one auxiliary • No rounds • In a long fight, breaks could be given. • Massages, drinks, & medical treatment. How Did a Match End
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