Lecture 29 Gladiators.docx

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Western University
Classical Studies
Classical Studies 2300
Charles Stocking

Lecture 29 Gladiators, Arenas, and Empire Seneca (Stoic Philosopher, Tutor and Advisor to Nero= fail) Letter 7.1-5 And nothing is so damaging to good morals as to hang around at some spectacle. There through pleasure, vice sneaks in more easily. I come back more greedy, more desirous of honour, more dissolute, even more unfeeling and cruel, because I have been among people. By chance I happened to be at the spectacle at noontime, expecting some witty entertainment and relaxation, to rest men’s eyes from the gore. It was the opposite. Whatever fighting there was before was comparative mercy. Now there was pure murder, no more fooling around. … Many people prefer this to the ordinary pairs and the fighters. Why wouldn’t they? No helmet or shield pushes the sword away. Where is the defence? Where is the skill? These things are just to delay death. In the morning men are thrown to lions and bears, at noontime to the audience. “ Criticism of Roman Violence - Assassinations of criminals at noon - Some considered this show moral because they were criminals but Seneca did not agree Martial (40 -102 CE) Spectacles 1 Let barbarous Memphis stop talking about the miracle of the pyramids; Assyrian toil is not to vaunt Babylon and the soft Ionians are not to garner praise for Trivia’s temple; let the altar of many horns say nothing about Delos, and do not let the Carians lavish extravagant praise on the Mausoleum suspended in empty air and exalt it to the stars. All labour yields to Caesar’s amphitheatre: Fame will tell of one work instead of them all. The Roman Colosseum - Colosseum = Flavian Amphitheatre - Colossal statue of Nero as the Sun God stood nearby - Colosseum is located on the site of Nero’s lake within his Palace – Flavians declared that they were restoring order by giving the space back to the Roman people - Begun by Emperor Vespasian - Dedicated by Titus (son of Vespasian) Representation of Rome’s Hierarchical Society – Levels of Seating Podium – special seating for Emperor, priests, and senators Maenianum primum – reserved for knights (equites) Maenianum secundum imum – reserved for Roman citizens Maenianum secundum summum – non-citizens (foreigners, slaves, freedmen) Maenianum summum in ligneis – wooden seats reserved for women Hupogeum of the Colosseum - Wooden floor of Arena covered with sand - Hupogeum was added or enlarged by Emperor Domitian (son of Vespasian) o Series of tunnels and trap doors for Gladiators and wild beasts to enter the arena - Separate entrance in the hupogeum for the Emperor to enter the arena Gladitorial Schools of the Empire - Under the Roman Emperors, private Gladitorial schools of the Republic were BANNED - Emperors established 4 Imperial Gladitorial Schools o Ludus Magnus o Dacius (for training Dacian prisoners of war) o Matutinus o Gallicus (for training Gallic prisoners of war) - Each school contained: o Armamentarium (armoury) o Sanitarium (hospital) o Spoliarium o Choriagium (warehouse for stage properties) Ludus Magnus - A big gladiator school in Rome - Resconstructed eventually - 3 tiers of cells for gladiators - Central training area - Seating around the training area for up to 3000 spectators - Begun by Emperor Domitian, restarted by Trajan, and finished by Hadrian Type of Imperial Gladiators Equites: Horsemen/Knights - Only fought other horsemen - Opening act for gladiatorial combat - White tunics, brimmed helmet, manica (arm guard), sword, and shield Provocator – Challenger - From the era of Republic - Attire: o Non-brimmed visored helmet o Neck guard in back o Subligaculum (loin cloth) o Greave on left leg o **Concave rectangular shield o **Breastplate Thraex (Thracian) - Only ethnic type of gladiator in the Imperial Period - Equipment: o Curved sword (sica) o **Small oblong shield o Manica on right arm o **Brimmed helmet with
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