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Caesar and the Gladiators

7 Pages 1762 Words June 2018

The excitement was palpable; the air was electrifying, everyone was eager to enter the enormous, stone structure for the spectacle. The flyers in the last weeks advertised wild beasts of every kind and hundreds of pairs. There were rumors of the number of pairs, as the gladiators had been ‘trained up..not in schools, but in houses of Roman knights and even Senate’s, skilled in the use of arms’ [ CITATION CSu06 l 1033 ]. Only the most celebrated gladiators would be in attendance. The people jostled for the best of the free seats, sponsored by Senators, looking for the people’s favor. What exciting times!
The gladiatorial games, while many, only happened a couple of times a year. The bloody, grisly shows were gory spectacles that the general population of Rome would flock too. “Present-day disapproval of the horrors of the arena is completely understandable, but we should not forget that our judgment springs primarily from our norms and values,” [ CITATION Mei03 l 1033 ]. While we look back, we see unthinkable horrors to humans and animals alike, did some Romans have similar views as we do today? According to Cassius Dio, possibly, “But of the populace in general, many did not enter the Amphitheatre at all, and others departed after merely glancing inside, partly from shame at what was going on...” [ CITATION Dio l 1033 ].
The Roman people had many rituals the seem very primitive but were very important to them in their daily lives and the afterlife. They believed in rituals of condemnation, execution and sacrifice long before the gladiator games became a popular afternoon pass time. Death spectacles were a way to punish criminals, to dispose of captives and tributes or duties to relatives who passed away. They believed if blood was shed over their grave they would be able to pass easily over to the afterlife (munera). The wealthy would often purchase slaves to fight to the death as a sacrifice at their grave. Often th...

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