Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Gladiators and Politicians

Imperial Shows
After 27bc Rome was ruled by emperors. Elections still took place for less important government posts, but only men approved by the emperor were allowed to stand. The emperor had to give permission before a show could be organised. A statue of the emperor stood in every arena.

Political Violence
Gladiators were sometimes hired to beat people up during elections. In ad366 a priest named Damasus hired gladiators to attack the people who supported his rival Ursinus in the election to become pope. The gladiators killed 137 people and Damasus won the election.

Rich Rewards
The emperor Nero loved music as well as gladiatorial shows. In ad63 a murmillo gladiator named Spiculus won a fight. He then picked up a lyre and sang a song that he had written. Nero was so impressed that a man could be good at fighting, composing and singing that he gave Spiculus a house in Rome and a farm in the country.

Emperor’s Bodyguard
The emperor Caligula hired a group of Thracian gladiators to be his bodyguard. The gladiators paraded in their armour and followed Caligula everywhere. They did not save him from being murdered by soldiers who ambushed him in a narrow corridor.

Stopping a Fight
Some people opposed gladiator fights. In ad404 the Christian monk Telemachus leapt into the arena to stop a fight and make a speech saying that the fights were cruel and should be stopped. He was killed by angry spectators.

The End
Gradually the views of Christians such as Telemachus became more popular. The last gladiator fight took place in about ad445. Fights between gladiators and wild animals continued until about 680.

Cook a Gladiator Meal

Ask an adult to help with the cooking.
You will need:
60g porridge oats
40ml water
Pinch of salt
50g ham
5 dried figs
2tbsp olive oil
1tsp dried rosemary

1. Chop the ham and figs. Fry them in the olive oil with the rosemary.
2. Place the oats, water and salt in a saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
3. Pour the oats into a bowl, scatter over the ham and figs.


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