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Assignment One Zach Esposito, 2014, p.

Assignment One
Friday, September 5, 2014
Gladiatorial Games Colosseum: Romes Arena of Death
The Real Story Gladiator
The Roman Bloodsport

Special note: This observation took place over the first 35 minutes of three different
hour long films. The first film I observed was Colosseum: Romes Arena of Death.
The second was The Real Story- Gladiator and the third and final film was The
Roman Colosseum: THE REAL TRUTH. The timing of the observations is taking
place in actual time in the documentary.

Important Background Information: The observations that I took happened in many
locations in Rome over the years of 79 AD and later. Some important locations are The
Pit and the Colosseum. The pit was a roman quarry that supplied the capital with most of
its marble. Furthermore, the Colosseum was built from this marble to be a place where
the leaders of Rome could win back their people with large spectacles. It is also good to
know that these documentaries tell different stories on the how to become a successful
gladiator and how to earn the chance to gain freedom. As the films go on, they bounce
around from place to place with a narrator explaining what has happened in the mean

Figured World: A large community that has laws and its own repercussions for
behavior in the society. A figured world would also have the same was of
communications and etiquettes through the society so everyone could understand each
The Gladiatorial games can be simply broken down into violent sport. Before it was the
Gladiatorial games it was a Roman funeral for the prisoners of war. The prisoners would
fight to the death just like the gladiators did, but instead of a huge crowd, only Roman
soldiers would watch. Over time, it grew into a huge spectacle where politicians that
hoped to run for office would sponsor a couple of games to become more popular.
However in Rome, the community of practice was to send slaves and prisoners of war to
the Colosseum to train so they could die for the enjoyment of others. The purpose of the
Games was to get money out of deadbeats of the society by making them fight. Anyone
who became a gladiator was automatically named "infamis", which meant that they were
beneath even the lowest of citizens and became a slave to the arena. A gladiator, once at
the Colosseum, had to endure the harshest of trainings. This training included the use of
any weapon that was available and the rules of the arena. Once a gladiator had his
training, he would then head out to the arena and try to win. To win a gladiatorial fight, a
gladiator had to simply kill his opponent without being killed himself. If a gladiator won
he may become popular and maybe if he continued to win he could be given the wooden
sword, which meant his freedom. The more wins a gladiator won the more people would
come to see him fight. When more people who come to watch the fight, the roar of the
Assignment One Zach Esposito, 2014, p.2
crowd increased with it. Popularity came with a price when you were a gladiator. With
more people coming to the Colosseum, the owner would then get the gladiator to fight
something that would be exciting. Many times the more popular fighters would fight
animals, like bears and lions, or they would fight multiple fighters at once.
Domain: An idea that the large community believes in and where they show their
commitment to the members of the community. The Domain is where many actors
spend most of their time because it rules their life.

Popularity: In Ancient Rome popularity meant everything. Emperors could not
successfully run Rome without the support of the people. Furthermore, popularity
could also get you killed if not one liked you. The main reason that the Colosseum
was built was to help gain popularity for Emperor Vespasian and try to get the
population of Rome to help him fix what his predecessor did to Rome.

Communities of Practice: A group of people (more than three) that have the same
goals and interests in the figured world. These people also have to communicate the
same way.

Upper class: It was common practice for the upper class to invite the influential
gladiators to their house for a party. This would make them spot to be for the
night and would make others talk about your party. Often, the owner of the house
who have a mock fight with the popular gladiator winning. Almost always these
parties were to show off wealth and to gain influence of other wealthy people.
Citizens of Rome: The common people of Rome had a practice of going to the
Colosseum to watch a gladiator fight animals or other gladiators. This act of going
to the games was almost like going to a football game now days. Everyone, no
matter who you were, was at the games to cheer on the gladiator of their choice.
Gladiators: All gladiators wanted to become famous so the Rome would come and
watch them fight. Also, gladiators wanted to be able to become free and the only
way to do that was to win, so all of them practiced their gladiatorial skills so that
they could never lose and win their freedom.

Practices of the Community: Habits that people all believe and they all communicate
in the same way. Its more than customs that a society believes in, it is something that
has been happening so long that the community couldnt live without it.

Gladiatorial Games: The whole nation of Rome believed that the
Gladiatorial Games was a great way to entertain others. During the 100 days
of straight games, 50,000 fans would come everyday to watch the fight and try
and see the next famous gladiator preform. The games became so popular that
exotic animals were brought from all over the world to fight the gladiators.
Additionally, people wishing to run for office, would use the games as a
Assignment One Zach Esposito, 2014, p.3
political stunt to try and gain as many followers as possible by sponsoring
some of the games with their own money.
Fighting: Every Roman man was taught to fight either for fun or profession. It
showed how much of a man you were if you fought and won. It was this bravado
that lead to those fighting in the arena because they could become famous for
something that society valued among its highest principles.
Death: In Roman times death was everywhere. People were getting killed for
treason, in war and for stealing bread. It was this reason that as a community, the
killing of people for pleasure was so easily accepted and why people today think
it is so repulsive because we didnt live with the idea of death in everyday life.

Actors: People that have important jobs in the community. I n other words people who
fill certain roles in society. For example, the leader of Rome is called the emperor and
his important job is to govern Rome.

Lanista: He is the owner of a local gladiatorial school. His job is to go around
and pick from the best slaves and criminals to find the best gladiatorial. If he
picks right then his job could be very lucrative, making him mass amounts of
money from the one gladiator.
Emperor Vespasian- Ruler of Rome from 69 to 79 AD and mastermind behind
the building of the Colosseum. He wanted to make an arena in which could win
back the people of Rome by making people fight to the death. This stunt was to
fix what his predecessor did with his reign.
Titus- Vespasians son who used the Colosseum and the gladiators to win back
the people of Rome. Hated by many people but after he finished the Colosseum,
he became one of the most like emperors of all time for Rome because he made
100 straight days of games.
Marcus Aurelius- Emperor of Rome from 161 to 180 and revered as one of the
best rulers of Rome. He led the romans against Parthian Empire and defeated
them in the east. He also fought in Europe against the Marcomanni, Quadi and the
Saramtaions and was successful during the Marcomannic Wars. Marcus Aurelius
was the father of Commodus and gave him his empire after he died.
Commodus- Also known as one of the worst emperors of Roman history,
Commodus loved everything about the Gladiatorial
Games. He became so obsessed with them that he
had an arena at his own house that he would train at
to become a gladiator. Furthermore, Commodus
was the only emperor that actual fought in the
arena. Being so obsessed with the arena made him
have many enemies because he would neglect his
main job of ruling an empire to go watch the
gladiators. To stop his enemies he would simply kill
them and try to cover it up. These murders lead the
people to mistrust him even more and gave him the
reputation of a mad leader.
Assignment One Zach Esposito, 2014, p.4
Gladiators- The people that fought in the Gladiatorial Games. Many gladiators
were slaves or captives of war from the many Roman campaigns. At the very
beginning of a gladiators life they would have to swear loyalty to the Lanista and
do anything he asked. As he trained, he would be accessed to see if he was worth
putting in the arena. Once in the arena, a gladiator fought until he lost or his
Lanista said to stop. If a gladiator continued to win then he could make a name for
himself and live a very success life.

Artifacts: Something that the community couldnt live with without. I t maybe physical
or an idea but it must be something important to the community. For example, an
artifact for the Untied States would be the Declaration of I ndependence.

Gladiatorial Games- The gladiatorial games represent the bloody and gruesome
nature of the Romans. What we think is completely over the top to us is
completely normal to them. This is because back then people died all the time if
they were executed and thats what many Romans thought these games were
about. Additionally, throughout the whole film we see that thousands of fans
come out and watch people fight to the death. Back then, this was a huge treat for
the citizens of Rome and would love whoever sponsored the event that was held
in the Colosseum.
Wooden Sword: This was the symbol of a gladiators freedom. To get the
wooden sword means that you have established yourself as one of the best
gladiators of that time period. Moreover, if you got one you would immediately
be free from your Lanista and could do what you want. Many winners of the
wooden sword would go back to their Lanista and train the new gladiators and get
paid for it. Finally, since the wooden sword was so rarely given out the gladiators
that did get the sword were many times made into legends and written about in
the history books.
Colosseum: The Colosseum itself
couldnt be lived without because
some many people depended on it to
get their entertainment. Without the
Colosseum, people would have to go
to the corners of Rome to watch the
fights where only about 2,000 people
could watch the fight, versus the
Colosseums 50,000 people it could
sit and it was in the middle of the
capital. Moreover, the Colosseum
was the symbol for Roman power because it showed Rome had the money and
manpower to build something that man had never seen before.

Literacy Practices: practices the community uses to communicate. I t can be written or
verbal, the only stipulation is that they have to communicate that certain way.

Assignment One Zach Esposito, 2014, p.5
Word of Mouth: The most common way someone in Roman society would find
out about an event that was happening in Rome was from word of mouth. This
meaning that if someone wanted to become more influential then they had to do
something note worthy. Most of the time people who wanted power would spread
the word of a big fight that was happening at the Colosseum and if all went well
more people would believe what that man said.

Observations One: Gladiatorial Games Colosseum: Romes Arena of Death

2:00 minutes: Roman soldiers take over a village in Moesia by force, and you see a long
line of slaves beings marched away from the village. The slaves are marched 50 miles to
a Roman quarry and forced to mine stone for the empire. We then find out that the slaves
are mining stone so that the Emperor of Rome can build a great building in Rome. As the
camera pans around we notice that the quarry is a terrible place for a slave and we are
informed that the mine is named The pit because its hotter than the deepest pit in hell.

5:00 minutes: As the slaves work in the mine, a Lanista walks around looking at them to
see if any are fit for gladiatorial school. Just as the Lanista passes two slaves that he
deemed unfit for the arena they begin fighting. The Lanista sees that they have a will to
fight and notices that he missed judged them. He then buys them because he can see them
becoming successful gladiators by how passionate they are about living. Now free from
the pit, the new recruits have to face the long and troublesome path of the gladiator. Just
before the groups of gladiators get to the school they have a revelation that for the first
time in years they control their own fate.

10:00 minute: The recruits arrive at the gladiatorial school and are put into groups to
swear loyalty to the Lanista. The gladiatorial school is where the gladiators learn how to
fight with a sword and shield and whatever else they need to know to win in the arena.
During the swearing of loyalty, we find out that over half of gladiators are free men
trying to gain glory and fame or pay back debts by fighting in the arena. After the group
of men finish swearing to the Lanista, the are told to bath and then be prepared for
tomorrow where they will bend them to their will. As soon as the bath scene is finished
the camera flashes over to Emperor Vespasian and the construction of the Colosseum. As
the emperor walks around the construction site, the narrator explains that this was a plan
to make the citizens of Rome to like him and his family for centuries to come. They
continue to walk around and we see that this is going to be the biggest arena ever built
and also the most complex one with a pit in the certain of the arena going down 36 ft.

15:00 minutes: We are now sent to a very elegant party in the rich part of Rome. As the
camera moves around checking everyone in their expensive togas the new trained
gladiators come into the scene. As they enter the narrator explains that big parties would
be thrown in a Lanistas honor the night before a fight. The reason for this was to make
the person who paid for the party gain in popularity. In these parties there were games to
show off the gladiators many talents. It was not uncommon for a wealthy single or
divorced women to pay the Lanista to sleep with a gladiator because back then gladiators
were like star athletes.
Assignment One Zach Esposito, 2014, p.6

24:00 minutes The arena that the gladiators fight in is a very small-enclosed space.
One by one, each gladiator is called out to fight. As the fights go on the narrator explains
that the common knowledge that a gladiator has to die to lose is rebuffed and tell us that
normally 90% of gladiators survive. More and more fights go on and some win and some
lose. One gladiator loses and goes to the doctor. We find out that the gladiators were
given the most advanced treatment at the time so that the Lansta didnt have to pay for a
replacement. The gladiator that lost asked to go back out because he knew that if he
didnt win he would never be sponsored to fight again. The gladiator goes out and is on
even terms with the fighter who has not lost that day. As the fighting continues the
gladiator wears down his opponent and wins. This win secures him a spot at the gladiator
school and some money because of his victory.

Observation Two: The Real Story Gladiator

9:00 minutes: The main reason for the Gladiatorial games was not entertainment for the
mob at first. It began 200 years before Christ and the main objective was a Roman
funeral for the prisoners of war. The prisoners would fight to the death just like the
gladiators did, all the while the Roman soldiers would watch. Over time, it grew into a
huge spectacle where politicians that hoped to run for office would sponsor a couple of
games to get his name out to the public.

12:00 minutes: Gladiators that are chosen are treated with the up most care. They are
provided with the best doctors in Rome and some of the best nutrition that can money can
buy. Their diet consist of mostly grain to help them bulk up as much as possible. By
bulking up, the gladiators gain extra layers of fat, which is to protect them from fatal
blows for weapons to the organs. Furthermore, the rich diet of grain also helps them build
up the muscles to handle a sword for an extended period of time. All the while the
gladiators are eating and healing up with the doctors, the gladiators train day in and day
out for 6 months until they are ready to fight in the arena.

15:00 minutes: Gladiators were trained into one of the seven different types of warrior.
The first was the Retiarius gladiator or who was also called the net man (seen first to
the right). He fought with a trident, dagger, and
a net and was the most agile of all gladiators.
This gladiator had very little armor and was the
only one allowed to retreat in the arena. The
Retiarius almost always fought the Mermillo
Fish man (seen to the far right). The Murmillo
had a roman legion shield and sword and had
armor all along his legs to prevent the net man
from just finishing the fight by hitting his legs
with the trident. The third gladiator was the
Egues and he was the only gladiator that was
allowed to wear a tunic for protect. The next
gladiator was called the Secutor. The Secutor
Assignment One Zach Esposito, 2014, p.7
was one of the most popular gladiators because the way he fought was the most brutal
and gruesome since he would use his shield and sword combo to deadly efficiency. The
fifth gladiator type is the Hoplomachus. The Hopolmachus was a gladiator that fought
with a spear and could only be killed by hitting him in the chest since his head and legs
were covered in armor. The final two gladiators are the Provocator and the Thraex. These
last two both hack and slash type gladiators with the one difference between the two is
that the Thraex use a Thracian curved sword.

20:00 minutes: The Roman citizens wanted blood and gore, but didnt want slaughters
by a one sided fight. To make sure that this wouldnt happen the fights were set up so
each gladiator had an equal chance to win. Each fight had two gladiators that could
exploit each others weaknesses to win the battle. Even though each gladiator could
exploit each others weakness those who had more experience in the arena would
normally have the advantage. This is because the one gladiator that was more
experienced knew how his opponent would react to blows to the vital spots and use this
as an advantage. These seasoned gladiators would normally have successful careers in the
arena because they knew what it took to stay alive and win.

33:00 minutes: Gladiators could be compared to Olympic athletes now days. Many of
these would be nervous, but ready to fight because this is what they have trained for all
these months. Once the two gladiators went through the gate of life they would hear the
roar of the crowd and the anticipation of what will happen next kicks in. The battle would
commence and then the lives of the gladiators would be in the hands of the crowd. If both
gladiators fought bravely then both of them could walk away. However, if one lost a bad
battle then the crowd could tell the emperor to kill him for the enjoyment of the mob. It
would be at this point the winner or winners would walk back out of the gate of life. It
was common for a gladiator to become addicted to the feeling of walking back out of the
gates of life because he knew that he would live for another day.

Observation Three: Gladiator Games -The Roman Bloodsport
8:00 minutes: Roman citizens would willingly give up their citizenship just so they
could fight in the arena. So many did this for the fame and glory that Augustus Caesar
had to make a law that no women and only free men of 25 years of age or older could
become a gladiator. The reason so many wanted to become slaves was because Gladiators
were treated like super stars back then, and also if you became a gladiator you could miss
the mandatory military service. Another reason that people wanted to become a gladiator
was that you could make 3 times the annual salary of a soldier and if you were a well
known gladiator it could be 12 times.
11:00 minutes: Many gladiators picked names from Greek mythology to scare their
enemies. These names would define the gladiator and define their character along with it.
By choosing these fearsome names the gladiator hoped that it would stick and that it
would become a household name so that when he would fight, the crowd would be
cheering for him. Also, if a name got famous because of a certain gladiator, then after he
Assignment One Zach Esposito, 2014, p.8
died many gladiators would pick up his name hoping it would bring them fortune, just
like the man before them.
17:00 minutes- The greatest moment in a gladiators life is when he is rewarded the
wooden sword by the emperor of Rome. The giving of the wooden sword normally meant
that the gladiator who is receiving it had a once in a lifetime fight. Once the sword was
given it meant that the gladiator was free and could do as he pleases. Another way of
obtaining freedom was to buy it. Gladiators were given a percentage of there winnings
and if they saved it up they could buy their freedom from the Lanista. Often times the
gladiator that was set free would go and work for the Lanista as a trainer because he
would be paid for what he knew best.
22:00 minutes: During the gladiatorial games many different events would go on so that
the attendees wouldnt get bored. In the mornings, warriors would hunt many exotic
animals as they were released in the arena. This was also the only time that Roman
citizens could see the many exotic animals that the Romans caught on their conquests in
the east. At noon, public executions were held in the arena so everyone could be a
witness to his death and know why he is being executed. Then finally during the
afternoon the main gladiator fights would begin. The fights would vary from one versus
one to two battles of one versus one. It was during these fights that the population of
Rome would fill the arena completely.
32:00 minutes: The total amount of deaths during the games was immense. During the
opening day of the games over 5000 beasts were killed. The amount of gladiators that
were killed was around 11,000 over 100 hundred days. Since this number was so huge, it
was not uncommon for gladiators to kill themselves before the match because they were
scared of making a fool of themselves in the arena. The reason that the numbers of
animal and gladiator deaths were so large is that the emperors of Rome were judged by
what past rulers did and if the former leader had 100 gladiator matches, then he had to
match that number or in most cases beat it.

Interview One: From Colosseum: Romes Arena of Death
Give me an example of an ideal gladiator.
An ideal gladiator would be a man that can entertain the crowd with his flashy
swordsmanship and always win. An ideal gladiator would also be good looking so the
rich women of Rome will pay to be with the gladiator when he isnt fighting.
What is the symbol of a gladiators freedom?
The symbol of a gladiators freedom is the wooden sword. The emperor of Rome
normally gives the wooden sword to the gladiator. In order to get the sword you must
have an extraordinary fight that makes the crowd love you. Normally, once the sword
Assignment One Zach Esposito, 2014, p.9
was received, the gladiator would work for his Lansta because he could get paid to train
the future gladiators.
How does a gladiator become successful?
A gladiators only way to become successful is through winning. By winning, a gladiator
could make a name for them selves and with his fame make lots of money from his
winnings. If a gladiator can constantly win then not only will he become rich he will be
the idol of Rome and maybe one day become free because of all of his success.
Explain the training a gladiator goes through.
The training a gladiator goes through is all stamina based. In order to win in the arena, a
gladiator must be able to swing his weapon and move in his armor for 5 to 8 minutes. To
gain this stamina, the Lansta will make the gladiators swing his weapon and wear his
armor day after day for 6 months to become accustomed to it. Once they have the ability
to fight for the 5 to 8 minutes needed to fight in the arena, there training is done and they
are full fledge gladiators.
How does a gladiator handle the idea of death before each match?
The gladiator handles death like an athlete handles a big game, he puts it in the back of
his mind and he goes out and does what he has trained for the past 6 months.
Tell me about the difference between each weapon a gladiator type uses?
The different between each weapon is based on the style of fighting a gladiator uses. The
spear is a medium range weapon, which means it is designed to keep some distance from
their opponent and strike from a distance. A sword is used for the up close and personal
type of gladiator. The next weapon is the net and trident and these are used in
combination because they help the others weaknesses. The trident is a good medium
range weapon but sucks when someone gets close to the gladiator. The net is good at
close range to try and snare the opponent so they cant move, but if the opponent moves
too far away then it is useless. That is why they are used in combination to help each
others weapon weaknesses.

Interview Two: From The Roman Bloodsport

How did the rulers of Rome keep the gladiatorial games fresh?

The rulers of Rome kept the games fresh by adding extra activities besides watching
gladiators fight. One of the most popular ideas of keeping the fights new was to add
beasts hunts in the arena. This would be the only time the poorer people of Rome could
see the animals and because of this it became very popular. Another activity Romans
added to the games was the act of playing music while the gladiators fought. The
orchestra would play as the two fight and the tempo of the music would rise and fall as
Assignment One Zach Esposito, 2014, p.10
the two would attack each other. Finally, one emperor flooded the Colosseum so naval
battles could occur in the arena. However, this happened only once because it was too
expense to bring in that much water day after day.

What was a day like for the Colosseum?

The day began with criminals fighting for their lives against the many beasts of Europe.
This would last until noon, which was when the execution of roman captives began. After
the executions, a short break would occur allowing for people to go out and eat. Then
finally after the short break, the gladiators would come out and fight until sun down to
the entrainment of the crowd.

How was the demand for gladiatorial fights met?

The demand was met by creating a professional school where gladiators could learn to
fight. This made the slaves become professional fighters and it was the reason why the
Colosseum times were so successful because they had the fighting background to
entertain the crowd. Julius Caesar was the one who created this and he did it so the
people of Rome would only see the best entertainment.

What is the deeper meaning behind the Gladiatorial games?

The deeper meaning behind the gladiatorial games was the Romans need for control. In
the games, they have control over the animals and they have control over the lives of the
gladiator in their hands. This need for control drives them and when they get it they
become addicted and they want it everyday so they can feel the same thing again.

Explain why we could be like the Romans and put on fights to the death.

The reason why we could be like the Romans and put on fights to the death is because we
are still humans and we crave entertainment. The citizens of Rome grew up around death
and it was just another thing to deal with, unlike us today. If the tables were turned and
we had death around us, we could live though the pain of others getting hurt because
everyone of us is going to die just some are going to die sooner. Furthermore, none of us
will no better because if everyone were doing it then most likely we would follow suit
and watch the fights as well.