The figure of the gladiator is as compelling to us as it was to the Romans. Why are we drawn to this ancient blood sport? The usual explanation of the savagery lurking beneath ou rveneer of civilisation is too simplistic. Gladiatorial combat has always been far more than just an excuse for the enjoyment of violence. From its origins in the funerary religious practices of Republican Rome to the extreme form of entertainment we recognise today, the bloody business of the arean evolved into a microcosm of the Roman Empire, a self-contained world reflecting the culture, attitudes and history of Rome itself. The author brings the games and the gladiators into focus, placing them in their historical and cultural context. Using evidence from all over the Roman world, including fresh archaeological discoveries, the minutiae of the arena are set out and discussed. A picture of the gladiator's life is built up, from training and diet, to social status and mortality rates. The history of the amphitheatre, that iconic symbol of bloodletting, is also traced alongside the evolutions of the gladiator.
Films like Gladiator and Spartacus demostrate that the idea of two men fighting each other for their lives has lost none of its power in over 2000 years. The particular persistence of this public taste for spectacle is explored, with unavoidable comparisons to the modern world.
Buy The World of the Gladiator book by Susanna Shadrake from Australia's Online Independent Bookstore, Boomerang Books.
(248mm x 172mm x 10mm)
The History Press Ltd
Publisher: The History Press Ltd
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Author Biography - Susanna Shadrake
Susanna Shadrake is a writer, researcher and consultant to TV and film companies, advising on all aspects of gladiatorial life. She is co-founder and secretary of Britannia, a re-enactment society providing shows for English Heritage, the BBC, Museum of London and the National Trust. She is the author of 'Barbarian Warriors'. She lives in Basildon, Essex.