Emperors and Gladiators
Of all aspects of Roman culture, the gladiatorial contests for which the Romans built their amphitheatres are at once the most fascinating and the most difficult for us to come to terms with. They have been seen variously as sacrifices to the gods or, at funerals, to the souls of the deceased; as a mechanism for introducing young Romans to the horrors of fighting; and as a direct substitute for warfare after the imposition of peace.
In this original and authoritative study, Thomas Wiedemann argues that gladiators were part of the mythical struggle of order and civilisation against the forces of nature, barbarism and law breaking, representing the possibility of a return to new life from the point of death; that Christian Romans rejected gladiatorial games not on humanitarian grounds, but because they were a rival representation of a possible resurrection.
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Review: Emperors and GladiatorsUser Review - Jessie B. - Goodreads
This book suggests that gladiatorial games played an important symbolic social role in roman society despite the both glorified and stigmatized view of gladiators themselves. It makes a good argument even if the writing is a bit dry. Read full review
Review: Emperors and GladiatorsUser Review - William Prueter - Goodreads
Go to prueter.org. Find Latin page. Click on books read. Go to Roman culture. Find the summary. Read full review