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The Influence Of The Ancient Roman Gladiatorial Games

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The Roman gladiator captivated the masses and contributed to the very definition of ancient Rome. The consumption and coverage of football in America today is the modern equivalent to how gladiatorial games fit into the entertainment and overall culture of the ancient Roman world, with the gladiatorial games holding even deeper importance regarding spirituality. In a society built through the balancing of bloodshed and civility, the ancient Roman gladiator made his impact through spectacle by pure carnage. From 264 BC to AD 404, the Roman people were captivated by gladiators; their appeal remained constant through shifts in power and changes in overall purpose. The purpose of Roman gladiatorial combat went from being to honor the dead and…show more content…
Since these early contests were held graveside at funerals, there were no large audiences and the main purpose of the games was not to entertain masses of people. Also, the use of games as a funeral rite was only somewhat popular at the higher levels of society with aristocrats, making demand for the games somewhat of a niche market. A shift in the nature and purpose of Roman gladiatorial games occurred in 264 BC at the funeral of Roman consul Julius Brutus Pera. This fight was different because it was put on in the public eye. The fight was pitched at a public oxen market and featured three contests at the same time . This escalation of public appeal and increase in overall size of event marked an important shift from private display of honor and deference to public display of spectacle and entertainment. The practice of Roman gladiatorial games being used as public displays of wealth, power, and status was also born at the funeral of Brutus Pera, adding display of societal standing to the purpose of gladiatorial games. The demand for gladiatorial games rose sharply from this point forward, so naturally, Rome had to supply more of what the people were demanding. To meet the demand for bigger, better, and more frequent gladiatorial games, gladiator trainers or lanistaes used multiple points of supply to find bodies to train. Most gladiators were slaves taken from conquered lands or prisoners of war. Convicted criminals also
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