Doe 1 John Doe Hist. 117 The Hisotrical Gladiator The Historical

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John Doe
Hist. 117
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The Hisotrical Gladiator
The Historical Gladiator
Gladiator is an account of the Roman general Maximus Decimus Meridius, and
his journey from the blood-laden battlefield to the iron shackles of the arena. Set during
the 2nd century A.D. the film shows many aspects of Roman culture at the time.
Although the story in this 2000 film is fictional, some characters and other aspects are
based on real events.
One possible inspiration for the character Maximus was gladiator by the name of
Spartacus. He is described as “a Thracian by birth who may even have once served as
an auxiliary in the Roman army before being sold into slavery” (Czech). Spartacus, in a
similar fashion to the film’s Maximus, was a former Roman soldier who was forced to
fight in the arena as a gladiator. After capturing the favor of the crowd, he later led a
revolt against the commanding Romans (“Gladiators”). The different outcomes of the
two tales cannot hide the heroic nature of both Spartacus and Maximus.
Marcus Aurelius left behind Meditations, a book that accounts for his character
as a man, written during his campaigns of war. The proof can easily be seen in quotes
such as:
Most of the things which ordinary people admire have to do with objects of
the most general kind, those which are held together by cohesion or
natural organization ... But he who values a rational soul, a universal soul
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which is fitted for political life, values nothing else except this; and above
all things he keeps his soul in a condition and in activities suitable to
reason and social life (Aurelius 59).
Although the real Commodus was not slain in the arena, after a foiled plot by Lucilla,
there was a similar betrayal from his sister. He “executed her after the discovery of a
plot to assassinate him” (“Historical Accuracy of Ridley Scott’s Gladiator”). In 192 AD
another attempt was made on the emperor’s life. The plot to poison him failed, but on
the same night he was murdered by “an athlete called Narcissus” (Cavazzi).
Considering all the various factors, this movie accomplished the goal of
expressing what it needed, in order to capture the feel of Roman culture. The major and
lesser flaws or inaccuracies can be ignored without losing that overall experience.
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Works Cited title is plain and centered.
Works Cited
Aurelius, Marcus. Meditations. South Carolina: Forgotten Books, 2010. Print.
Cavazzi, Franco. "Lucius Aurelius Commodus." The Roman Empire. n.p. n.d. Web. 25 Apr.
2010. <>.
Czech, Kenneth P. "Ancient History: Spartacus and the Slave Rebellion."
Weider History Group, n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2010.
"Gladiators." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2010.
"Historical Accuracy of Ridley Scott's Gladiator Film." HubPages. YieldBuild, n.d. Web. 25
Apr. 2010.
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