Those Who Are About to Die Salute You

Those Who Are About to Die Salute You

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Nearly 2000 years ago, the Colosseum would have been filled with 50,000 people all cheering the deaths of countless people. Back then though, it was called the Flavian Amphitheatre.

Edit: Amazingly, there is only one account of an actual gladiator battle that has managed to survive for us to read today. It's a poem written by Marcus Valerius Martialis about a dual that took place on the opening day of the Flavian Amphitheatre in the year 80AD. Two men, close friends by accounts, forced to fight each other.

Normally, a gladiator's chances of dying in a battle weren't very high, only about 10% which is contrary to common thought. Usually the sponsor of an event would have to pay for replacing any fighters killed in action. That dissuaded them from giving the thumbs down at the end of every clash. Also, the Romans were quite good at fixing the injured and gladiators got the best care. Most cuts could be dealt with. If there was organ damage however, there wasn't much that could be done.

On this day, opening day of the largest amphitheatre the world had ever seen, there were other pressures at work. Pressures that would make it far more likely that a losing gladiator would not be spared. Two large tragedies had struck during Titus' reign. The destruction of Pompeii and a huge fire that had engulfed Rome. People were getting the idea that Titus might not have the favour of the gods any longer. The new amphitheatre was an impressive distraction from that idea. It needed to be popular. In addition, the morning's events had not been so good. The criminals that had been brought in to be killed by lions had escaped their fate, for that day at least, because the lions were scared by the cheers of the crowd. The 50,000 people in attendance had not seen nearly enough blood to make them happy.

So, when the two friends entered the ring, they both knew that one would have to die. Otherwise, the mob would not be satisfied.

The battle started. A hard fought affair. When one lost his shield, it was ordered that the other must shed his. They fought on. They both lost their swords and still the battle continued.

Then, amazingly, the fight was halted by Titus himself. Impressed by both men and their unwillingness to give up, he declared both to be victors. They were each awarded wooden swords, wreaths and most important of all, their freedom. It was unprecedented. Losers were spared their lives regularly, but never were both declared victors. This time however, they were.

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Camera: N/A
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Focal Length: N/A
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Exposure: 1/125 sec
Aperture: f 8
ISO: 220
Views: 2851
Taken: 2009-05-25 14:22:22
Posted: 2010-04-21 | 07:52





Those Who Are About to Die Salute You

Those Who Are About to Die Salute You

Nearly 2000 years ago, the Colosseum would have been filled with 50,000 people all cheering the deaths of countless people. Back then though, it was called the Flavian Amphitheatre.

Edit: Amazingly, there is only one account of an actual gladiator battle that has managed to survive for us to read today. It's a poem written by Marcus Valerius Martialis about a dual that took place on the opening day of the Flavian Amphitheatre in the year 80AD. Two men, close friends by accounts, forced to fight each other.

Normally, a gladiator's chances of dying in a battle weren't very high, only about 10% which is contrary to common thought. Usually the sponsor of an event would have to pay for replacing any fighters killed in action. That dissuaded them from giving the thumbs down at the end of every clash. Also, the Romans were quite good at fixing the injured and gladiators got the best care. Most cuts could be dealt with. If there was organ damage however, there wasn't much that could be done.

On this day, opening day of the largest amphitheatre the world had ever seen, there were other pressures at work. Pressures that would make it far more likely that a losing gladiator would not be spared. Two large tragedies had struck during Titus' reign. The destruction of Pompeii and a huge fire that had engulfed Rome. People were getting the idea that Titus might not have the favour of the gods any longer. The new amphitheatre was an impressive distraction from that idea. It needed to be popular. In addition, the morning's events had not been so good. The criminals that had been brought in to be killed by lions had escaped their fate, for that day at least, because the lions were scared by the cheers of the crowd. The 50,000 people in attendance had not seen nearly enough blood to make them happy.

So, when the two friends entered the ring, they both knew that one would have to die. Otherwise, the mob would not be satisfied.

The battle started. A hard fought affair. When one lost his shield, it was ordered that the other must shed his. They fought on. They both lost their swords and still the battle continued.

Then, amazingly, the fight was halted by Titus himself. Impressed by both men and their unwillingness to give up, he declared both to be victors. They were each awarded wooden swords, wreaths and most important of all, their freedom. It was unprecedented. Losers were spared their lives regularly, but never were both declared victors. This time however, they were.

show this photo on a map ✈

Tags & Categories


EXIF

Camera: N/A
Lens Type:
Focal Length: N/A
35mm Focal Length:
Exposure: 1/125 sec
Aperture: f 8
ISO: 220
Views: 2851
Taken: 2009-05-25 14:22:22
Posted: 2010-04-21 | 07:52