Archive for the ‘Gladiators’ Tag

The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire   79 comments

 

The Rise And Fall Of The Roman Empire (476 A. D)

The Roman Empire clip image

The city of Rome developed over hundreds of years and the passing of numerous wars to be the epicentre of the all-powerful and far-reaching Roman Empire. It grew out of a small Italian town and from the ensuing Empire the English, French and Spanish languages were derived.

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The well-known story of Romulus and Remus, dating back to 800 B. C. tells the tale of two brothers initially raised by a she-wolf and later by a shepherd who killed her. After building a city together Remus was killed by his brother Romulus who called the city by the name of Rome.

Ancient Rome was the superpower of its era, recognised for:

  • Military strength
  • Top quality training
  • Greatest financial means
  • Outstanding equipment superior to any other known worldwide at that time

Roman Imperialism

Ancient Rome

Romans embraced their status as masters of the known world. They knew well the art of winning wars and invading territories and retaining power in the colonies created therein by use of political tricks during their years of rule and power.

Romans were known for their:

  • Infrastructure including their Roads (or Via)
  • Engineering feats with bridges and aqua ducts
  • Built primarily to enable for fast movement of their military

Gladitorial Games

The Etruscans – a people of unknown origin from the located to the North of Rome, with their vast army and strange language, were Italy’s first particularly civilized people. Their women had rights of their own, went out in public places and even owned property. The Etruscans were a people skilled in mining, metal working, farming and trading (merchants). Men and women alike took pleasure in both music and dancing and contributed much to the civilization of Rome.

  • Sewage systems
  • Gladiatorial games
  • Arch for bridge building

Roman Soldier clip art

The Romans also realized they would need to win hearts and minds of the peoples and their cultures if they were to excel at the art of winning wars. They did this in a variety of ways including the providing of baths and central heating so that people did not realize they were being lulled into subjugation to their Roman masters.

Achievements of the Roman Empire

Some of the most important emperors who did both great and terrible things all too frequently at the same time:

  • The Great Rhine Wall and an enormous Forum were just two of the many structures built around Rome by Emperor Trajan
  • Emperor Hadrian was responsible for the famous “Hadrian’s Wall” that separates Britain and Scotland
  • Mighty victories were won over German peoples by Emperor Marcus Aurelius, also famous for his writing and known as the “Philosopher- King
  • Famous for bring Christianity to the Roman Empire as the official religion Emperor Constantine also named the Roman Capital, which he moved to Turkey(today), in his own honour, “Constantinople.”

The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire

The Fall of Rome

This occurred primarily due to lack of foresight

Ancient Romans erroneously supposed that the colossal differences in culture, economy and social life could be spanned by compelling the conquered societies, to take up the “roman” way. But ultimately any attempt to create a government or society that does not deal with these crucial aspects of observing the heart and soul of social and cultural backbone, and the spirit of a society, is doomed to meet with failure before it even begins.

“The Pax Romana” This brief period of peace lasted for around 200 years and marked the beginning the slow decline of Rome.

  • The empire grew to such a huge size that it became impossible to allow for effective governing
  • There was serious corruption within the military, at all levels
  • Conflicting political bodies entered into Civil Wars
  • Badly chosen Emperors who were the Head of Government at the time were often weak, incapable leaders who had either inherited the title or gained it through violence.
  • Unemployment amongst the Romans was on the rise due to the increasingly popular practice of using slaves
  • The rich became lazy and complacent regarding the solving of problems within the City of Rome
  • The average poor Roman was both overtaxed and overworked
  • Alongside an increase in prices there was a decrease in trade
  • Inevitably starvation and disease set in, shrinking the size of the population
  • Farm and government management became increasingly difficult and ineffective.
  • The Roman Empire itself also slid into a slow and steady spiral of shrinking

Barbarian Invasions_of_the_Roman_Empire Credit Wikipedia.org

Despite the Ancient Romans splitting the Roman Empire in half with an emperor for both East and West the Western Roman Empire did not fare well. Instead of protecting their borders Roman soldiers began fighting amongst themselves. This allowed outsiders to invade and overrun Rome.

  • Visigoths, the Huns, the Germans, the Persian, the Slavs, and the Avars.

By late 400s A. D the invaders had taken over and the Roman Empire was no more. By 476 A.D German soldier Odoacer the Barbarian defeated the Roman legions, captured the city of Rome and killed the Roman Emperor. He then went on to name himself king of Italy. This was considered by many historians to be the official date that Rome finally fell.

The East Roman Empire which also contained the capital city of Constantinople in Turkey – Istanbul, was renamed the Byzantine Empire which thrived for another 1000 years.

Credit: http:en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FileInvasions_of_the_Roman_Empire_1.png

Female Roman Gladiators Stand Victorious!   33 comments

Female Roman Gladiators Stand Victorious!

Female GladiatorAncient Rome frowned on Women gladiators and there is bare minimal mention of them in the writings of the ancient Romans. This ensured they remained very few in number and they were even banned in A.D. 200 by Emperor Septimius Severus. None the less a handful did manage to achieve gladiator status and to fight in the arena.

Fighting for Glory in the Gladiator Arena

Female Roman Athletes vs Female Roman Gladiators

In the world of ancient Rome it was only female athletes that did not perform wholly topless, wearing instead a two-piece bikini like garment.

 

Roman images of Female AthletesThe occasional flashing of an exposed breast was not unheard of during an athlete’s performance, and indeed it was a feature built into the garments design, but exposing both was totally taboo and utterly unacceptable.

 

Ancient Roman Ampitheatre

 

Male Roman Gladiator

Although male gladiators frequently entered the arena topless, wearing only a knee bandage and a loin cloth, female gladiators would usually wear – besides the knee bandage which was common to all gladiators, additional garments.

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However the low social standing of a gladiator (often slaves) did mean that should a female choose to enter the arena topless it was not thought of as unacceptable. This was done, possibly, in order to emphasise that they were female gladiators rather than male.

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Helmeted Female GladiatorShe would also have worn protective/defensive kit including a shield and a warrior’s helmet, and shin protectors known as greaves. The male gladiators if so inclined would also wear a breastplate. Both male and female gladiators were usually armed with a dagger like sword, a short, curved weapon known as a “sica”

Roman Gladiatorial Eroticism

Armed Male Gladiator

“In a society so militarised as the Roman one, in which weapons were so popular (but exclusive to men), to see a woman in that role, so different to the usual feminine one, wearing the armour of gladiators and showing so much of her anatomy, should also stimulate the imagination and the libido of spectators.”~ Alfonso Manas of the University of Granada

Topless Female Gladiator

 

 

Roman writings did not however describe topless female gladiators in an erotic context or using language that would imply this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Female Gladiator awaits her Opponent...Male or Female

“Women fought in the arena and they fought very fiercely and we were excited to see them.”

Male gladiators also fought Female Gladiators

Ancient Greek Olympics   24 comments

The mythological origins of the Olympics

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The Olympic Games, originally a religious event, was the most important national festival of the ancient Greeks originally created to honour Zeus, king of the Greek gods. It is also said that Zeus founded the Olympic Games to commemorate his victory over his father Kronos whom it is claimed he wrestled with at Olympia.

 

 

profimedia-0086671418Apollo competed in a footrace with Hermes and also defeated Ares, the god of war, in a boxing match. And the heroic Hercules, descendant of the Idaean Herakles who guarded Zeus after he was born along with 1758162-herc02_mediumfour other Daktyloi was also was said to have taken part in the Games. 

 

Records of the Olympics date back to 776 BC when the official "First Olympiad" was held. The games were held every four years (time periods which the Greeks called Olympiads.) Discontinued by Emperor Theodosius I of Rome in the 4th century AD, they were not reinstated in Athens till 1896.

 

 

                                    The Olympics – sacred festival

HalicarnassusTheaterThe Olympic stadium was built southwest of Athens in Olympia close by Zeus’s temple. The 42 foot high gold and ivory statue of Zeus residing within the temple’s walls was sculpted by Pheidias, and was viewed as one of seven wonders of the ancient world.

Zeus’s alter was said to have been erected on the site struck by a thunderbolt, the god had hurled from his throne aloft Mount Olympus, the assembly point of the gods. To honour this legend Elis’s coins were engraved on their reverse side with the design of a mighty thunderbolt.

Delphi

 

 

 

Statue_of_Zeus

 

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Individual competitors trained rigorously. Winning an Olympic contest was a glory held in higher regard than winning a battle but was also intended through displays of great strength and personal agility to be pleasing and impressive to the gods, to whom athletes often prayed to for victory and made gifts of animals, produce, or small cakes, in thanks giving offerings for their victories. They were presented with garlands of laurel, a tree that was sacred to Apollo following the transfiguration of his cherished Daphne into a laurel tree. They were then given a crown of olive wreaths, and gained the privilege of being viewed as national heroes.

Women and the Olympic Flame

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 2426272Male competitors were proud individuals, usually competing nude, in order to strut and display the strength and prowess of their perfectly worked out bodies.

Consequently women, foreigners, slaves, and the unfortunates who had been dishonoured were prohibited from competing; Married women, were barred altogether from even watching any Olympic events, with dire consequences if they disobeyed, the only exception being the chariot races where the olympic-torch-9men were fully clothed.

They did however have their own Games in honour of the beautiful Hera – the Heraia, at Argos, held for women every four years until the time of the Roman rule. This was a sprinting competition in which sixteen women took part in three races, divided by age.

olympictorch-postprocessed-byrjt2004image007And it should not be forgotten that one of the most enduring images of the Greek Olympic Games are the those of the priestesses endowed with beautiful costumes igniting the Olympic flame with a colossal solar reflector.

The Olympic Torch or Flame a symbol of the Olympic Games originated in Ancient Greece and symbolizes fire, which was Olympic_Torch-2stolen from Greek god Zeus by Prometheus. The sacred flame burned by way of celebration throughout the ancient Olympic Games in Olympia inside of the temple of Hera, carefully guarded by her priestess and it said to have never gone out since its first lighting.

Today eleven women, representing the “Vestal Virgins”, stage a ceremony in which the Olympic torch is set ablaze by the light of the Sun. The Olympic Torch Relay ends on the day of the opening ceremony in the central stadium of the Games.

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The Isthmian Games 

olympic_coinThe Olympic Games were just one of Greece’s four major national festivals – others known as the Pythian, Nemean and Isthmian Games. The Isthmian Games were of a lighter hearted nature than the others and as such were especially well received.

Olive leaf prize

The Olympic Games were held to honour Zeus, whereas the Isthmian Games were a festival of athletic and musical competitions which honoured the sea god Poseidon whose legendary sanctuary was on the Isthmus of Corinth. Poseidon also presided over earthquakes and horses, and in the early Olympic Games, chariot racing with horses was a very important component of the Games.

The Isthmian Games were held in spring every second and fourth years of the Olympic Games. They competed for a prize consisting of a wreath of celery and later, for one of pine leaves and sometimes a statue or an ode.

 

21st Century Athens Olympics Opening Ceremony

 

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