In the ensuing legal case, Hackbart v. The NFL has substituted the morality of the battlefield for that of the playing field. Rome on the other. We might ask why references to ancient Greece and Rome pervade our discussions of sport.
This post was originally published on April 4th, American football season is in full swing and the players are back in the news for their behavior on and off the field. As the NFL grapples with scandal, the game goes on and fans all over the country are gathering each week, suiting up in their best team apparel, breaking out the tailgate, switching on the big screen or even traveling to the stadium to cheer on their favorite players and teams.
We thought this would be a perfect time to republish this post about the similarities between our modern sporting celebrities and the ancient heroes of the gladiatorial games. There are so many intriguing parallels that we thought the topic deserved another look.
So, enjoy part two of this series exploring the connections between the Roman gladiators and the sports celebrities of today. Just as women today frequent events to see their favourite crush, ancient women would attend gladiatorial games thrilled to see their favourite fighter.
And while modern women sometimes have the ability to act on their desires by approaching their sporting crushes at social gatherings or contacting them on Facebook, Roman women did not have the same access.
Instead, for the more advantaged woman, she paid to have her desires fulfilled by her favourite gladiator in his cell.
Gladiators also had items that commemorated them and their valiant battles. Colchester Vase The Colchester Vase depicts different classes of gladiator fighting each other and also gives the names of each gladiator above him, such as Valentinus and Secundus.
From the image below, one can see a secutor facing off against a retiarius; the secutor class of gladiator was cultivated to fight the retiarius class .
They were equipped with a tall rectangular shield, a helmet similar to that of the murmillo, greaves and a gladius. While on the other hand, the retiarius was very lightly armoured with only an arm guard, called a manica, in addition to his net and trident.
As well as these two individuals, the Colchester Vase depicts a bestiarius. A bestiarius was a beast fighter and in this particular case he is depicted fighting a bear with hunting dogs and a companion. Detail of the Villa Borghese gladiator mosaic. Image courtesy of Neddyseagoon. The Gladiator mosaic at the Galleria Borghese also depicts gladiators fighting and has their names written above the figures, such as Baccibus and Astacius.
Here again one can discern particular classes of gladiators, such as the secutor and retiarius. This mosaic is a pictorial recreation of a fight that actually occurred and identifies the dead gladiators as well as the victorious ones. Just as modern famous sporting events are memorialized, we can see that famous gladiatorial contests were treated in the same way.
Just as the gladiators wore armour to protect their bodies, many sports today require the players to wear protective gear.
One example is American football. Similar to modern athletes, gladiators had a highly regulated diet; this consisted of dried fruit, barley, oatmeal, boiled beans and ash, which the Romans believed help fortify the body .
Mosaic at the National Archaeological Museum in Madrid, 4th century AD Today, when the game or match gets especially out of hand, we have referees who step in and make sure the rules are obeyed.
Gladiatorial games also employed referees to help officiate the match. There was the senior referee, called the summa rudis, and an assistant to help him. They had long staffs, called rudes, by which they could separate opponents or caution them.
Just like modern day referees, they could pause or stop the match whenever they deemed it necessary . A mosaic from the National Archaeological Museum in Madrid depicts a referee officiating a gladiatorial contest.
He is clearly identifiable in a white tunic holding his staff and gesturing to the gladiators. Also, just as Princes William and Harry are known to play in charity polo matches, emperors such as Caligula, Titus and Commodus were known to have frequented the arena themselves and take on the persona of a gladiator.
Riot in the amphitheatre fresco from Pompeii, now in the National Archaeological Museum at Naples If you love sports today you probably support a specific team, such as the Giants or the Seahawks.
The Romans were no different. They supported certain classes of gladiators and each group had its own name: The same can be said for local rivalries.
Just as today when certain groups of football fans or thugs, as most people would call them clash before and after the match, the same would occur sporadically after gladiatorial contests.
One such occasion occurred at Pompeii during the reign of Nero in 59 AD; insults that were traded by Pompeian and Nucerian fans sparked a riot during a set of gladiatorial games, which caused Nero to ban games in Pompeii for ten years.
This incident is depicted on a fresco in the National Museum of Archaeology in Naples, taken from a domus in Pompeii .Violence in Sports: A Comparison of Gladiatorial Games in Ancient Rome to the Sports of America Doherty, Amanda, "Violence in Sports: A Comparison of Gladiatorial Games in Ancient Rome to the Sports of America" ().
brutal gladiatorial matches. Today, hundreds offans watch as . Savage Gladiators vs. Civilized Amateurs: Rome and Athens in American Sports Culture how Americans talk about sports today is a legacy of how 19 th-century Europeans interpreted the classical past.
Rome, by contrast, summons a set of negative associations such as paid athletes and violent spectacle. The ideals of Athens, according to. A set of gladiatorial games would happen only every few months (if that often) in Rome, and less often outside of Rome. The name of the sponsor, who put up the money, would be heavily advertised.
If you wished to raise your social and political profile in ancient Rome, sponsoring a set of games was a quick, but very expensive, way to do it.
The gladiatorial games of ancient Rome were a fascinating part of the Roman culture. However, the Romans did not come up with this phenomenon themselves. As with many other aspects of Roman culture, the gladiatorial games were influenced by the Etruscans.
The funerary games of the Etruscans /5(4). The Contrast of Rome's Gladiatorial Games In every society, some form of entertainment is present. From board games to athletic events to theatrical spectacles, people throughout time have sought ways to occupy their leisure time.
The Contrast of Rome's Gladiatorial Games and Aggressive Sports of Today In every society, some form of entertainment is present. From board games to athletic events to theatrical spectacles, people throughout time have sought ways to occupy their leisure time.