Scott's GLADIATOR is a great film.
it great history?
here to learn the real story behind the events and characters portrayed
in the movie.
report any suggestions, problems, errors, or dead links by emailing david(at)exovedate.com
info from this site?
detailed copyright information and bibliographic citation, click here
the author by emailing david(at)exovedate.com (note: replace (at) with the @ symbol)
© David Neelin: All Rights Reserved
can be nobody so petty or so apathetic in his outlook that he has no desire
to discover by what means and under what system of government the Romans
succeeded in...bringing under their rule almost the whole of the inhabited
world. Polybius Histories 1.1.5
100 BCE Eudoxus attempts to circumnavigate Africa.
BCE b. || Titus Lucretius Carus
was a Roman poet and philosopher who wrote De Rerum Natura, "On the
Nature of the Universe", in which he laid the foundation for Epicurian
philosophy, and claimed that matter was composed of smaller particles
| Lucretius, De Rerum Natura
BCE || Lex Pompeia
law which granted "Latin right", the right of certain foreigners
to marry and trade with Roman citizens together with the possibility,
after transferal to Rome, of obtaining Roman citizenship.
BCE || Sulla's first march on Rome
Sallust (86 - 35 B.C.)
Historiae (78 - c. 66 B.C.) in 5 books
Conspiracy of Catiline (66-63 B.C.) in 1 book
Jugurthine War (112 - 105 B.C.) in 1 book
ca. 84 – ca. 54 Catullus
83 BCE Capitoline Temples destroyed by fire Quintus Lutatius Catulus oversees reconstruction
ca. 83-40 Fulvia Flacca Bambula
BCE|| Sulla's Dictatorship
ca. 80 BCE | | Sulpicia
The Slave War of Spartacus
famous slave and trained gladiator who led a class rebellion against
Rome in an attempted flight to freedom. He defeated numerous Roman battalions,
but was finally defeated by Crassus, with the aid of Pompey.
| The Life of Crassus by
one of few actual primary references to Spartacus. He writes:
insurrection of the gladiators and the devastation of Italy, commonly
called the war of Spartacus, began upon this occasion..."
The Battle of the Gladiators (detail) | Mosaic | Borghese Gallery, Rome
| c. 200 CE |
Lentulus Batiates trained up a great many gladiators in Capua, most of
them Gauls and Thracians, who, not for any fault by them committed, but
simply through the cruelty of their master, were kept in confinement for
this object of fighting one with another. Two hundred of these formed
a plan to escape, but being discovered, those of them who became aware
of it in time to anticipate their master, being seventy-eight, got out
of a cook's shop chopping-knives and spits, and made their way through
the city, and lighting by the way on several wagons that were carrying
gladiators' arms to another city, they seized upon them and armed themselves..."
reference to the wife of Spartacus is very short, but important. It addresses
the participation of women in cult and religious activities:
at this latter time also accompanied him in his flight, his countrywoman,
a kind of prophetess and one of those possessed with the bacchanal frenzy"
wife of Spartacus is thus referred to as a woman with a similar role to
that in this portrait. Her name is unknown.
Priestess of Bacchus | Marble | Victoria and Albert Museum, London | c.
390-400 CE |
slaves quickly became a very organized and significant threat to Rome.
the praetor, took the command against them with a body of three thousand
men from Rome"
won handily and then:"Publius Varinus, the praetor, was now sent
against them, whose lieutenant, Furius, with two thousand men, they fought
and routed. Then Cossinius was sent with considerable forces..."
they, grown confident in their numbers, and puffed up with their success,
would give no obedience to him, but went about and ravaged Italy; so that
now the senate was not only moved at the indignity and baseness, both
of the enemy and of the insurrection, but, looking upon it as a matter
of alarm and of dangerous consequence, sent out both the consuls to it,
as to a great and difficult enterprise..."
pirates where a significant force and further complication. Later:
retreated through Lucania toward the sea, and in the straits meeting with
some Cilician pirate ships, he had thoughts of attempting Sicily, where,
by landing two thousand men, he hoped to new kindle the war of the slaves,
which was but lately extinguished, and seemed to need but little fuel
to set it burning again"
Fortune pledges things to many,
Guarantees them not to any.
Live for each day, live for the hours,
Since nothing is for always yours.
Ancient Roman Epitaph CIL 12.1219
upon strategy and objectives between Spartacus and too many of his group
invited division which was exploited by the ultimately more powerful Crassus.
was afraid lest (Spartacus) should march directly to Rome, but was soon
eased of that fear when he saw many of his men break out in a mutiny and
quit him, and encamped by themselves upon the Lucanian lake"
became clear that the defeater of Spartacus would have great honour in
Rome; Pompey was a contender with Crassus for the triumph.
is women performing the religious ceremony:
women that were sacrificing for the enemy, they had been in great hazard,
had not Crassus immediately appeared, and engaged in a battle which proved
a most bloody one"
ultimate fate of Spartacus...
directly towards Crassus himself, through the midst of arms and wounds,
he missed him, but slew two centurions that fell upon him together. At
last being deserted by those that were about him, he himself stood his
ground, and, surrounded by the enemy, bravely defending himself, was cut
ruled his destiny more than did justice.
67 BCE Mithridatic War
ca. 64 BCE-ca. CE 23 Strabo
63 BCE The Conspiracy of Catiline
ca. 60 BCE - ca. 7 BCE Dionysius of Halicarnassus
60 BCE First triumvirate Pompey the Great, Crassus, and Julius Caesar
Livy ca. 59 B.C. - A.D. 17
Ab urbe condita
BCE || Birth of Octavian, later Augustus Caesar
| The Life of Augustus by
COS IMP CAESAR AUG XI Sacrificial implements: simpulum, cruet, lituus, et cetera
BCE || First Triumvirate of Pompey, Crassus, and Julius Caesar
MVS III VIR MS AN QVI Julius Caesar laureate head right
59 BCE-CE 17 || Titus Livius (Livy)
major Roman historian and tutor to the future emperor Claudius, Livy's
lifework was a recording of the history of Rome. The volume of his work
is staggering. Livy, writing on rolls of papyrus, wrote 142 books (not
all of which are extant), from the founding of Rome to the events following
the Battle of Actium. Some of his recordings contemporary to his lifetime
were not published until years later, due to their politically sensitive
The History of Rome
invite the reader's attention to the much more serious consideration of
the kind of lives our ancestors lived, of who were the men and what the
means, both in politics and war, by which Rome's power was first acquired
and subsequently expanded, I would then have him trace the process of
our moral decline, to watch first the sinking of the foundations of morality
as the old teaching was allowed to lapse, then the final collapse of the
whole edifice, and the dark dawning of our modern day when we can neither
endure our vices nor face the remedies needed to cure them.
chiefly makes the study of history wholesome and profitable is this, that
in history you have a record of the infinite variety of human experience
plainly set out for all to see, and in that record you can find for yourself
and your country both examples and warnings.
writing was didactic; it was meant to instruct humanity by providing exemplary
models of greatness, demonstrate the consequences of particular actions,
and give warning of the consequences of vice.
Seneca the Elder (c. 55 B.C. - A.D. 39
52 BCE Publius Clodius Pulcher is killed by Titus Annius Milo in a street brawl
48 BCE Battle of Pharsalia
f. ca. 45 BCE Lycoris
ca. 44 BCE Pomponius Mela publishes De Situ Orbis
BCE || Second Triumvirate of Antony, Lepidus, and Octavian
M ANT IMP & ILLEGIBLE Bust of Antony, facing right
DIVUS AUGUSTUS PATER
Radiate bust of Augustus, facing left
BCE Protest of Hortensia
BCE - CE 68 || The Julio-Claudians
Imperial family, ruled Rome for nearly a century, laid the foundation
for the politics of the Empire, and furnished Rome with its first eight
emperors, from Augustus to Vitellius.
Bust of Octavian | Marble | Roman | c. 20 BCE |
PACI AUGUSTAE Nemesis advancing right, holding caduceus and pulling veil; snake to right
BCE | | Composition of Virgil's
mythological epic was commissioned to tell the story of Rome in the manner