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So /fit/ is having a retarded thread about Gladiators >>>/fit/50807161 and it got me wondering.

Did gladiators actually die consistently and easily, or were they actually valued and well treated and died infrequently?
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Gladiators were the professional wrestlers of their day, they were highly paid and experienced showmen, not barbarians they just threw in an arena to fight.
The slaves and pagans and criminals and such were the ones they made fight to the death and get eaten by lions.
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>>6623368
They could due pretty easily but did they? Most fights were not scheduled to be to the death. Slaves are expensive after all. Were there some, maybe, especially when wild animals were involved. That was more of execution usually though.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bestiarii

I don't imagine that every venatio made it out alive though, these are animals were are talking about.
http://penelope.uchicago.edu/~grout/encyclopaedia_romana/gladiators/venationes.html
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>>6623458
>>6623368
die*
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Consider that the Roman state was huge and lasted a very long time, had rulers with wildly different attitudes and policies, areas with varying levels of autonomy and different cultures. Every arena wasn't the Colosseum and everyone that was forced to fight for entertainment wasn't viewed as a high value commodity.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPk945AXMUo
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>>6623368
If the Gladiator was trained, knew sword tricks, entertainment, showmanship, etc. He would most of the time do performance fights and may one day leave the arenas if he wishes to. It's like WWE with a bit more violent contact. Most of the time you would be saved. If it's a big fight in Rome's Colosseum and the Caesar & Crowd wants you dead then you do a last performance that shows the culmination of your career.

Of course, untrained shits will be thrown at these WWE gladiator chads to be slaughtered for laughs, the Gladiator doesn't die unless he fucks up somehow.

TL;DR: Not really, It's WWE on steroids.
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>>6623536
Oh and a lot of Gladiators weren't slaves, plenty of Hulkamaniacs want to be part of the arena.
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>>6623580
>a lot of gladiators weren't slaves
I'm going to need a source on that brah.
Some gladiators(madmen) maybe.
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>>6623483
Iconic.
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>>6623483
Why can't they make a gladiator series that is somewhat historically accurate about how the ludi worked like Spartacus but less lewd and ridiculously over the top with slow motion like Gladiator. That would be my dream.
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>>6623368
>I chanced to stop in at a midday show, expecting fun, weight, and some relaxation, when men's eyes take respite from the slaughter of their fellow men. The preceding combats were merciful by comparison; now all trifling is put aside and it is pure murder. The men have no protective covering. Their entire bodies are exposed to the blows, and no blow is ever struck in vain. . . . In the morning men are thrown to the lions and the bears, at noon they are thrown to their spectators. The spectators call for the slayer to be thrown to those who in turn will slay him, and they detain the victor for another butchering. The outcome for the combatants is death; the fight is waged with sword and fire. This goes on while the arena is free. "But one of them was a highway robber, he killed a man!" Because he killed he deserved to suffer this punishment, granted. . . . "Kill him! Lash him! Burn him! Why does he meet the sword so timidly? Why doesn't he kill boldly? Why doesn't he die game? Whip him to meet his wounds! Let them trade blow for blow, chests bare and within reach!" And when the show stops for intermission, "Let's have men killed meanwhile! Let's not have nothing going on!"
>Seneca, the Moral Epistles

It would have been heavily dependent on social class

Your average Samnite (Italic), Thracian (Illyrian), Hoplomachus (Greek/Easterner), or "Fishman" (the famed murmillo, which were Celtic) would have been a prisoner of war, shipped from the front lines specifically for the purposes of fighting to the death for public entertainment. They would have been shipped with the equipment with which they marched to war, and wouldn't have cost much more than the price of shipping them, well offset by the advertising revenue their deaths would have generated for the game's promoters. And there were always more prisoners of war to be found.

1/2
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>>6624243

Then there were Noxii gladiators, condemned criminals given cheap equipment, no armor and funneled into the arena without training, to be slaughtered gloriously by top tier gladiators. Their death rate would have been %100, or at least very close to it

The lowest of the low were the Bestiarii, the gladiators who fought wild animals, with insane rates of death as a lion driven insane by hunger won't hold back

If a gladiator had actual talent and showmanship, and was successful enough that he could afford his own tombstone, his chances of survival improved to about 4 in 5. These would have been the minority, however, the golden glove boxers of the ancient world, the ones who "made it to the big leagues" while huge numbers of jobbers fought and died anonymously, just like how it is in modern combat sports.

2/2
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>>6624243
>>6624245
Good posts, anon!
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>>6624110
Colosseum: A Gladiator's Story (TV Movie 2004)

It's hard to find it in good quality now, but its a great little documovie
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>>6624245
>>6624243
It definitely would have been entertaning.

But i'd still feel sympathy, why didn't ancient people. How cany they just sit and watch some poor captured farmer get murdered for fun?
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>>6624266
>But i'd still feel sympathy, why didn't ancient people. How cany they just sit and watch some poor captured farmer get murdered for fun?

>"There is nothing so ruinous to good character as to idle away one's time at some spectacle. Vices have a way of creeping in because of the feeling of pleasure that it brings. Why do you think that I say that I personally return from shows greedier, more ambitious and more given to luxury, and I might add, with thoughts of greater cruelty and less humanity, simply because I have been among humans?

>Unhappy as I am, how have I deserved that I must look on such a scene as this? Do not, my Lucilius, attend the games, I pray you. Either you will be corrupted by the multitude, or, if you show disgust, be hated by them. So stay away."

Seneca again

Keep in mind that these were ancient wagecucks with no vidya to distract them from their bleak, meaningless lives.

Marcus Aurelius even tried to interest them in "lusiones", pretend fights without bloodshed, but these appear to have been intensely rejected by the mob.
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>>6624266
So much this.
It's fucking absurd how this was literal 'family entertainment'.
Even not too long ago, in the 1800's, public hangings were something people gathered to see for fun.
And i'm not even touching wartime madness.
Call me a pussy but murder is just something i cant grasp, mainly because i fear death like a bitch.
I'd kill in self defence but doing it or watching it for fun is outlandish
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>>6624336
My theory is that everyone was severely mentally ill and full of anger and hated and bitterness, so they loved this shit.
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>>6624336
the whole "Greeks are effeminate boyfuckers" meme comes from Greeks visiting Rome, attending the games, being unused to the slaughter and completely losing their lunch after being repulsed by the sheer scale of the depravity, to which the average game-attending Roman's response would have been, "AHAHAHA!! PUSSY!"

Think of it like the ancient version of Anonymous
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>>6624243
It as only to the death if it was punishment for a crime(for the lower classes only, of course).
Other than that, I thought it was strictly entertainment. They would usually just stop once someone was badly wounded. It's still a shity way to treat a person but I do not believe death for trained gladiators was ever intentional. Not to say none of them died. Of course some did from all that trashing, but I'd argue it was mostly accidental.
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>>6624883
>It as only to the death if it was punishment for a crime(for the lower classes only, of course).
Yes, and consider the state of their legal system, where Titus could have the music girls thrown to the starving beasts on a whim, to get a laugh out of the crowd, Or Commodus could have all the legless cripples rounded up and attached together to make it look like a giant for him to club to death, or Claudius finding it hilarious to make his page go in the arena and fight in his white toga.

So a lot of these (((criminals))) were probably just people whose only crime was being in the wrong place at the wrong time, rounded up as the demand called for it. Even in the best of times, the Roman courts were a bloated, pay-to-win mess.

For people who "made it" and got to spend their evenings being fed grapes while banging the bored wives of aristocrats, their odds of success were much higher, about 4 out of 5 reached retirement age. These were the fighters who were an "investment" that their promoter would have been loathed to part with. But at the same time, promoters who didn't kill enough gladiators were seen as stingy or total buzzkills.
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>>6625062
indeed. Forgot to mention that lower classes and other slaves can could also be thrown for amusement. The slaves specifically bought and sold as gladiators would hardly ever fight to the death as they were a big investment. I feel you that sometimes they would so the Ludus master could keep things interesting with the crowd, but not usually.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTeGUmi7pBI

Man, there are some things that this show got so right about gladiators in Rome but other things about Rome that was so wrong. Really makes my upset.
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>>6624336
please go back
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>>6625062
Do not forget a lot of what went in the Arenas, and a lot of what emperors did is inevitably colored by propaganda. Early Christians downright fetishized martyrdom in Roman bloodsport, and certain emperors whose cruelty supposedly affected the lower class the most, were in fact adored by the poor and needy.

Besdies, there are episodes of the same cruel mob having a heart and rewarding good sports more than demanding violence.

>During Roman times there was the tale of the elephant's curse. Pompey Magnus was celebrating his election as Consul by throwing a series of lavish games, the apex of which was an army of convicts fighting a herd of elephants. At first the people went wild, watching the elephants trample and stomp on criminals, but one by one the elephants went down, and when there was only a few left this is what happened, according to Cassius Dio:
>"the elephants were pitied by the people when, after being wounded and ceasing to fight, they walked about with their trunks raised toward heaven, lamenting so bitterly as to give rise to the report that they did so not by mere chance, but were crying out against the oaths in which they had trusted when they crossed over from Africa, and were calling upon Heaven to avenge them"
The fact that Pliny the Younger and Seneca also mentioned this event speaks to the sheer gravity of the scandal, and the people were so shocked and horrified by the sight of the crying elephants that they began to hiss and curse at Pompey. Seven years later, disgraced and defeated, Pompey was murdered almost the moment after stepping foot in Africa, fulfilling the elephant's curse in the eyes of the Romans. >>6624243
>Your average Samnite (Italic), Thracian (Illyrian), Hoplomachus (Greek/Easterner), or "Fishman" (the famed murmillo, which were Celtic)

Pretty unlikely as those were trained to fight in very specific styles, in matches with very specific rules, and thus very valuable. The fodder were explicitly criminals.
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>>6623368
Fights to the death were rare. It costs money and time to train a gladiator. You don't want to kill off your investment. If you wanted to see blood, you could always grab a chistian or two on the way back from work and throw them in the arena to be eaten by lions.
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>>6626061
"...does it serve any useful purpose to know that Pompey was the first to exhibit the slaughter of eighteen elephants in the Circus, pitting criminals against them in a mimic battle? He, a leader of the state and one who, according to report, was conspicuous among the leaders of old for the kindness of his heart, thought it a notable kind of spectacle to kill human beings after a new fashion. Do they fight to the death? That is not enough! Are they torn to pieces? That is not enough! Let them be crushed by animals of monstrous bulk! Better would it be that these things pass into oblivion lest hereafter some all-powerful man should learn them and be jealous of an act that was nowise human. O, what blindness does great prosperity cast upon our minds! When he was casting so many troops of wretched human beings to wild beasts born under a different sky, when he was proclaiming war between creatures so ill matched, when he was shedding so much blood before the eyes of the Roman people, who itself was soon to be forced to shed more. He then believed that he was beyond the power of Nature. But later this same man, betrayed by Alexandrine treachery, offered himself to the dagger of the vilest slave, and then at last discovered what an empty boast his surname was."
>Seneca, De Brevitate Vitae (XIII)

Pompey throws these games specifically because he was looking for more creative and entertaining ways of slaughtering criminals as a public spectacle

but the elephants are astonished and horrified at their fates and run around bawling their eyes out, something which would have been a massive novelty for Romans who up until then thought of them as mindless, savage brutes, and Pompey's political enemies pounced. All this did was teach Romans to never send an entire family of elephants into the arena, as the sight of their herd mates being cut down is like their worst nightmare come true

Now realize this was centuries before the zenith of the spectacle of the games
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>>6624336
Even as recently as the 1930s in the southern USA, families would get together after church and have picnics while they hanged a local negro for walking too close to a white woman
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>>6626061
>>Your average Samnite (Italic), Thracian (Illyrian), Hoplomachus (Greek/Easterner), or "Fishman" (the famed murmillo, which were Celtic)
>Pretty unlikely as those were trained to fight in very specific styles, in matches with very specific rules, and thus very valuable. The fodder were explicitly criminals.
here's another primary source for you to consider

>>"The Romans staged spectacles of fighting gladiators, a practice they were given by the Etruscans, not merely at their festivals and in their theatres, but also at their banquets. That is, some would invite their friends to dinner and to other pleasant pastimes, but in addition they might witness two or three pairs of gladiators. When they were all sated with dining and drink, they called in the gladiators. No sooner did one have his throat cut than the masters applauded with delight."
>Nicolaus of Damascus, Athletica (IV.153)

Here a cultural outsider, with no incentive to blemish or exaggerate, talks about the routineness of death among gladiators, and how eager the crowd clamored for it.

All of those gladiator classes are modeled after enemies of Rome for a reason: they first associated those tropes with the games because of the thousands of prisoners of war whom had been made to fight to the death in their battle dress, and over time these became their own thing. The average Roman would have rationalized their death as being "this person wanted to come down into Italy and do cruel and terrible things to my loved ones. Let's give them the fighting lifestyle that they always wanted"
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>>6627014
>All of those gladiator classes are modeled after enemies of Rome for a reason: they first associated those tropes with the games because of the thousands of prisoners of war whom had been made to fight to the death in their battle dress, and over time these became their own thing. The average Roman would have rationalized their death as being "this person wanted to come down into Italy and do cruel and terrible things to my loved ones. Let's give them the fighting lifestyle that they always wanted"

It wasn't a consistent thing though, we do know the Samnite gladiator was just phased out when Romans made an effort to truly incorporate the rest of Italy, as it would have been tasteless and seed discord to depict them as an enemy in the games. Mock battles were common but the fights themselves could represent a variety of things. The most popular one, the Retiarius vs the Murmillo is literally a fisherman vs the fish.



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