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Lure of the Arena

caesar novus


I went to a gladiator talk by the celebrated Roman scholar Garrett Fagan, author of: http://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&field-author=Garrett%20G.%20Fagan&page=1&rh=n%3A283155%2Cp_27%3AGarrett%20G.%20Fagan


It was quite entertaining, but that seemed to be the point more than shedding much light. But I will try to share a few points, esp on new unpublished findings. Well, he showed some stone carvings of arena antics freshly unearthed. I forget if old or new, but there was a lot of bear vs man battles. Not lethal, but actual boxing matches or just a guy hiding from a bear behind a screen that rotated on a pivot. Kind of like a bullfighters cloth, but fancier.


Anyway, he seemed to drive at the artificial theatricality of the animal and human battles... not so much actual violence. Half way to modern wrestling for TV, it could even approach circus type acts with people or animals suspended in the air with ropes. Gladiator losers seemed to frequently be given mercy, and their costumes were not that of actual foreign fighters. Just fantasy costumes, but they would be highly trained in that role and no other. Showed much rigging for releasing animals, etc, and some strange but common setup for "ramp fighters".


Then in the q and a portion, he seemed to lose the plot. Serious issues were raised, like were christians really never executed in colluseum, which he seemed to dodge or give flippant or sensational answers. I think he did know the answers, but wanted to keep the jovial tone. Or his jokes about his water bottle containing gin were really true. He gave the impression of a common phenom of a UK scholar (including Dublin in UK, ha ha) who goes on to higher income in the US with crowd pleasing skills... probably gets perfect approval scores by his amused but not too educated students. He did give some nice "great courses" lecture series on Romans though.


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Oh, I should give more benefit of the doubt that jet lag affected the unscripted part of his lecture. Often they announce in the intro to these talks that the guy has flown all night to arrive here for the start of a long weekend. The intro was truncated due to a pre-talk demo which really confused me. I thought I had come at the wrong time because my trusty watch had expired and even my mp3 player couldn't confirm the time.

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I cant recall off-hand a single saint martyred by a gladitorial fight. I used to think, as per my post on the forum, christians were executed by Nero in the colesseum, but all I found when checking was he tortured and crucified a bunch in the streets.


The gladiator fights are over rated, reminds me of the gladiator fights in the show The Walking Dead..... its a broken piece of pagan religion, and as a former soldier I find it disgusting and demeaning to do to people. The Romans got what they deserved in Sparticus, wish he could of killed more of them.

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