The year is 86 CE, and the emperor Domitian has set aside a day for the gladiatorial
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games in the Colosseum in Rome. You are a Roman citizen fortunate enough to have a seat to
Set the scene and describe the day’s events. In particular, give a play-by-play account of
two separate contests you witness: the first one (in the morning) between a
bestiarius and a wild animal(s) of your choosing, and the second one (in the afternoon) between two gladiators. You
may also describe more bouts than just these two. For inspiration you might think of the combat
scenes in the docudrama “A Gladiator’s Story” we watch in class on Monday, Nov. 12.
Be graphic in your description—remember that Roman audiences were not squeamish
when it came to blood and gore. In your write-up make sure to address the following questions:
Describe the physical characteristics of Colosseum. What is the atmosphere like there, with a
packed crowd? (in modern terms, imagine the ambience of a sports stadium)
Give some background information on each of the gladiators: first names, age,
social status (slaves, freedmen, criminals, etc.), combatant status (veterans or newcomers),
and how they came to fight for their lives in the arena
What types of gladiators are they and how can you tell? (i.e. describe their armor, weaponry,
and general appearance)
Which contestants is the crowd cheering for and why?
Who wins the contests and how? Does anyone die or is the loser spared? Why or why not?
What roles do the crowd and emperor play in determining the fate of the combatants?
As you research the historical facts that
guide your description every step of the
way, make use of: 1) the PowerPoint “Lecture 11-5 Gladiators” for Week 11; 2) what you
learned from watching “A Gladiator’s Story”; 3) assigned readings from Futrell and Knapp
(ordered for class).
Also explore the internet for even more visuals of Roman gladiators and especially
modern reconstructions of the ancient Colosseum, which will help you better visualize it as it
existed in the 1st century CE. NOTE: include a bibliography of all books, websites, etc. you
consulted in addition to the resources mentioned above in #1-3. You do not need to list the items