Read The Age of the Gladiators: Savagery & Spectacle in Ancient Rome by Rupert Matthews Online


This book looks at the savage spectacles of Rome and traces their development from entertainment to hysterical obsession until their eventual decline and disappearance....

Title : The Age of the Gladiators: Savagery & Spectacle in Ancient Rome
Author :
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ISBN : 9780785818595
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 240 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Age of the Gladiators: Savagery & Spectacle in Ancient Rome Reviews

  • Wayne
    2019-05-12 00:13

    PRE-READ:Films such as 1951's "Quo Vadis', (which actually deserves a '?' being the question "Where are you going ?") and the more recent "Gladiator" of 2000 are as good a place to start as any,being very splendid films striving for Authenticity and leaving the viewer with a definite 'feel' for Ancient Rome. And to some extent Gladiators !! "Spartacus"of 1960 is of course another popular film.Over the years, more research has enlightened us about Gladiators and their life style. Most of us would have seen this development on TV documentaries.I recall discovering that the "Thumbs Up"/ "Thumbs Down" ie., Life/ Death meted out at the final stage of a duel was NOT true. And have wondered ever since :"How did they work that out???"However it still makes it to the cover of this 2003 published book...two women on the right edge of the painting are definitely giving the "Thumbs Down" verdict. The painting, "Pollice Verso" is dated 1872 and does not seem to make it further than the cover. I could not find it in the Index and the Index made me wonder just how much text is devoted to 'The Gladiators'; it is certainly NOT necessarily implied in the book's title. I am actually expecting little from this book (hope I'm Wrong!!!) ...but I am NOT an expert on Gladiators so will never know anyway. But still, am willing to be further educated and this is one way to go about it. Whatever territory is covered.POST-READ:The Age of the Gladiators lasted for SEVEN Centuries...700 years is a very long tradition, and like most long traditions the Fashions changed, were deliberately altered or died out naturally because a source had dried up, or was displaced by a Sudden Idea...but when the Whole Show closed down it was because the Gladiatorial Spectacle had already died, was already displaced by a New Power, an Opposition that had been firmly asserting itself...this was Christianity...and so it died very quickly indeed. Perhaps with a BANG, but it was a Finality !!

  • ₵oincidental Ðandy
    2019-05-12 02:12

    Divided into four sections (I: Arenas of Blood; II: Circuses; III: Roman Triumphs & IV: Bread & Debauchery), this book goes beyond the main theme of the title (gladiatorial combat); it depicts the evolvement & the meaning of the gladiatorial games (set into historical context) along with the development of Roman culture surrounding the games over the centuries. Most siginificantly, perhaps, it also demonstrates the degeneracy of the Roman mind & populace, from the Consuls & Emperors to the lower sects of society, the plebeians. The scope & creative cruelty of the Romans' insatiable bloodlust - not to mention their need to cover themselves with glory in the form of foreign conquests & plundered loot - knew no bounds & is something to behold. For those who seek them, there are important social, moral & ethical lessons to be learned here, no doubt. A most excellent work.

  • Jason Golomb
    2019-05-03 21:19

    You're at a dinner party, and you overhear your neighbor discussing gladiatorial games in ancient Rome. You sidle over and slip into the conversation, "Did you know that an ape was once trained to drive a chariot pulled by camels?"Later, you check in on the teenagers in the basement watching the newly released Blu-Ray version of Russell Crowe's "Gladiator". After Maximus slices through the last of his latest foes, you pipe in with, "Did you know that condemned criminals (and sometimes Christians) were, in fact, thrown to lions, but they were also thrown to crocodiles, wolves, dogs and bears?"Rupert Matthews' "Age of the Gladiators: Savagery & Spectacle in Ancient Rome" is filled with anecdotes and examples of gladiator styles, equipment, and modes of murder and mayhem throughout the Roman Empire. After reading "Age", you'll have plenty of conversational pocket change to unload on unwitting neighbors, disinterested kids, and half-listening spouses.The first half of the book focuses on all things gladiator: origins, history, decline, the gladiator and their games, training, types of fighters, naval battles, wild animal hunts, executions as part of games, and then the Colosseum itself. There's also a chapter that provides a nice overview of the world's most famous non-fiction gladiator - Spartacus and his slave rebellion. The second half of the book covers a range of items like circuses, chariot and horse racing, Roman festivals, triumphs, bread doles and starvation, and a random assortment of other topics that generally fall under the heading of "Savagery & Spectacle."This book, however, is neither erudite nor academic - probably not the best choice as a reference in a doctoral dissertation. It has no bibliography or notes of any kind, and only periodic and passing references to the origination of a quote or tidbit of information. In addition to some questionable analysis, Matthews is oddly repetitive. On the first page of the first chapter (following the introduction), Matthews explains that historically a gladiatorial fight was called munus (munera in the plural) which means obligation. Gladiatorial fights were staged during funeral celebrations and so the fight was an obligation to the dead. Munus and munera are referenced throughout, but inexplicably, in the chapter on Roman circuses midway through the book, Matthews felt it necessary to remind us "If a ... relative died ... a suitably impressive munus, a gladiatorial show, could be staged."In another display of authorial forgetfulness, Matthews writes how Romulus, one half of the city-founding super-twins, organized a horse race in honor of the god Consus, patron of the harvest. He writes this on page 124...and page 130 - as if it was new information each time.It doesn't help the books' credibility that he repeatedly refers to Julius Caesars' close friend Mark Anthony. Last I heard, Mark Anthony is married to J. Lo and the closest he's come to Julius is on the blackjack tables at Caesar's Palace. Antony is referenced correctly in a later chapter and in the index, but there's an editor at Arcturus Publishing in the UK who might consider a new line of work...This book is best viewed as a series of independent essays compiled into a collection of writings on gladiators and spectacle in ancient Rome. If one can overcome the aforementioned foibles, there are some nice info nuggets. I wasn't aware that there was a sort of loose minor league structure within the world of chariot racers. Each factione (Chariot teams consisting of team Red, White, Blue and Green) had an informal relationship with its' counterpart in smaller cities near Rome. Also, riders would, at times, change factiones, not unlike the modern day charioteer Dale Earnhardt, Jr. who recently switched NASCAR teams.Most people are aware of the depths of Nero's depravity, but Matthews wrote on one incident which was new to me. While the Emperor was preparing to recite an epic poem he'd written about the life of Hercules, an unfortunate thief was caught stealing apples from Nero's gardens. Theft of an Emperor's property was considered treason and so he was condemned to death. Nero had a fantastically efficient idea of combining the recitation and execution. The thief appeared in the final scene in Nero's drama. He was clothed in a coat smeared in pitch and set alight and pushed on stage, emulating (or is that immolating) Hercules' mythological flaming death. Matthews writes, "His searing death agonies formed the triumphal end to Nero's play."The book contains a map - ostensibly of the Roman Empire at AD 211, and illustrations roughly tied to each chapter. Frustratingly, other than the cover painting called Pollice Verso by Jean Leon Gerome, which I find quite powerful, there are no illustration credits.If you're going to Italy for the first time and enjoyed the movie "Gladiator", then this is a good enough book to provide you context and background. If you're interest in roman history is relatively new and you're looking for a simple, easy-to-read overview of gladiators and excess, then this book will do. If you're serious about history or looking for detailed analysis, academic perspective, or erudite writing, then you're best bet is to look elsewhere.And if you're interested in Mark Anthony, I'd recommend People Magazine.

  • Anne Holmes
    2019-05-12 01:16

    NOT well researched!Sadly there are better, more accurate books on the subject. I noticed several obvious and not so obvious mistakes before I got a quarter of the way through - e.g. OBVIOUS. "Nero adapted the Colosseum ..." No, it wasn't started till 72 AD and was completed in 80 AD, well after Nero's time. His was a wooden one. Also, "By the middle of the first century AD entire business grew up to recruit, train and maintain gladiators" Well, by Spartacus's time {around 70s BC.) it was certainly already a business. NOT SO OBVIOUS. "Ave, Imperator,morituri te salutant." those about to die, not we. This was only mentioned as having been said once in Latin writings, at a sea battle organised by Claudius. It certainly wasn't a regular thing.

  • Trenchologist
    2019-05-01 22:15

    Very good survey and summation of the Games' humble beginnings as minor athletic eventings, hunts and parades, their middle life as chariot races and War Triumphs put on by those with great political ambition returning to Rome from war seeking to gain public favor, to the gladiatorial spectacles it all culminated into run as the sole domain of the Emperors' staging and whims. Easy to get through, sketchy of detail but good in overall scope.

  • Jay
    2019-05-25 01:21

    First the edition I had was very hard to read due to font size. Overall had some very interesting information on gladiators but also covered other aspects of Roman life. Just never seemed to get going or go very deep into the subject. I was somewhat disappointed, only gave it 3 stars due to subject matter interests me very much.

  • stephen paul copping
    2019-05-18 20:26

    A good read.Informative yet enjoyable,worth reading.Could have linked the chapters better as information was repeated sometimes.However this fascinating subject was presented well overall and I will definitely be reading it again in time.

  • Zach
    2019-05-22 02:26

    I really liked it. It covered most of the span of Roman history going into the origins and the evolution of Gladiators, Chariots, The Triumphs and even the grain needs of Rome. It was quite but left you feeling well covered. Over all I liked it.

  • Pablo Kennedy
    2019-05-18 02:04

    Very intense, explicit, gory book. It's a little hard for a middle schooler to comprehend, but still very interesting. I'm going to wait a while to finish it.