Poll: Would you watch gladiatorial combat?

Beliyal

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Jun 7, 2010
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JoJo said:
Depends how gruesome, allegedly Roman ones could get very brutal with the executions (burnings, crucifixion, castrations, torn to pieces by animals), though some of that may be exaggeration by later historians, I doubt many of us raised in a modern Western society could enjoy that sort of violence close up.
It was definitely violent, but professional gladiators generally didn't fight to death. The purpose was to provide a good show and good combat prowess. The nasty things you mentioned were actually reserved for criminals and prisoners of war. Anyone sentenced to death could've been placed in the arena in some sort of show before the main event where they'd get a death sentence in... an innovative way. There were also professional "gladiators" to deal with wild animals; these shows were called "venationes" or "hunts." But the actual gladiatorial combat was mostly safe. A gladiator was a costly investment and losing one was generally not something a lanista would want. A gladiator would get executed only if he displayed exceptionally poor skill or done something to repeatedly offend his fans with his performance (at that point, he was no longer a good investment). Fans were crucial for a gladiator's survival as they often paid a lot of money to come and watch their favourites train or buy souvenirs (bottled gladiator's sweat was popular. Weird times.) and they almost always pleaded for their favourite to stay alive even if he lost the battle.

evilthecat said:
Gladiators generally were quite chubby. They probably would have looked more like "world's strongest man" contestants or powerlifters than bodybuilders or professional wrestlers. In real life, without using steroids, it's very, very rare for someone to be very strong and not to also be fat because growing muscle takes energy. Gladiators' diet would basically be an extremely high-calorie mixture of carbs and protein. Plus, as thalukain said, the fat would also help protect them from injury.
Yep, this is true. We actually know what their diet was. It consisted of various plants such as barley and beans; they didn't eat meat. They were even called "hordearii" ("the ones who eat barley"). The purpose of the diet was to give them enough fat (injury protection) and enough energy. We know from records that they also ate some special mixtures with unknown ingredients; some records talk about bones grind to ash, but we don't know if that was actually the case. Whatever it was, it worked. Bone analysis of gladiator skeletons shows that their bones had higher values of calcium than the rest of the population.

OT: Despite my intense interest in these shows (wrote my bachelor's thesis on gladiators), I wouldn't actually want to watch it live, at least not if wasn't just make believe. Even if it involved only volunteers and deaths weren't common, there's just something wrong about the whole idea of watching someone potentially getting seriously injured or killed for entertainment. Though, I do like a good gladiator movie or show or game. And I watched historical re-enactments which were great.
 

Beliyal

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Jun 7, 2010
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Dynast Brass said:
That's the thing, modern technology is getting us close to having all of the sport, and NONE of the risk, with VR being the ultimate future expression of that wish. I share your view that actual gladiators would simply be a return to a somewhat uglier time, and without an obvious need.
I'd be all for some VR gladiatorial combat. That would be really cool from an entertainment standpoint and would even be useful in research and experimental archaeology. Even harmless re-enactment can lead to injuries; in one of the fights I've watched, from professional re-enactors who train for this stuff like any other sport, there were injuries. Nothing big, but a slash here and there. Broken bones are also common. Well, like any other sport really, but combat is combat. Even with blunted weapons.
 

Shinkicker444

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Dec 6, 2011
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Don't we sort of still have it these days with MMA, Boxing and Wrestling? Unless you mean good ol' fashion sword and board, man on man on animal fighting that may or may not have resulted in serious injury? If it was properly regulated to minimise excessive or permanent injury I guess it could work, but otherwise I think these days we're much to "civilised."
 

Beliyal

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Jun 7, 2010
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Dynast Brass said:
VR though, can you imagine how incredible that could be? We could settle all kinds of questions both academic and, heh, of the more "who would win?!" variety.
Hopefully, one day, we'll have this. I hope it happens within my lifetime because oh man, I'd love to try it. I'd even try re-enactment, but removing the possibility of serious injuries could probably turn this into something more than that.
 
Apr 24, 2008
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No. I'm too old, too conditioned, too repulsed by genuine violence to learn to be accepting of it now.

I'd play the shit out of a well made gladiator game though.
 

Addendum_Forthcoming

Queen of the Edit
Feb 4, 2009
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No ... the Circus Maximus would be violent enough for me.

Well, actually ... is it raining? Colosseum had better weather protection. Not only that, but what years are we talking about? If we're talking early 2nd Century, then yeah. If only to watch the mock naval battles. Blood and sand battles wouldn't interest me as much as the mock naval battles.

But in general, Circus Maximus ... better seating and closer to the action. So close you might be able to concuss a rival with a stone you lob at them from the crowd.

I mean, what else are you going to do with 180 days of officially recognized holidays each year? Ancient Rome ... it's not like you can veg out on your non-existent couch and play games. All you have is gambling and wine, and trying to crap in public, open air toilets with a diet largely revolvng around crusty bread and cheese. Sure you can go to the forum and discuss philosophy or the brothels, or perhaps indiscreet casual sex at a temple of Isis during certain events, whilst lounging in hot water baths after coating yourself in oils and perfumes.

But after catching your potential death with venereal disease, settling for the Circus Maximus would be my primary hobby. Circus Maximus had better gambling payouts and better long odds.

Say what you like, but you'd die of boredom otherwise. I consider myself a fairly ethical person. But if you stripped away from me my good dining, my expansive array of wines, my books, my laptop, my pen and paper RPGs, my network of distant friends I can travel and go out with, modern shopping, internet, my motorbike, my investments, my university education, what am I?

Frankly, anybody that says 'no' is forgetting that there isn't a whole lot to do before electricity, other than survive. If you're a Roman, you didn't even need to worry about that so much as evade the soldiers and thieves wanting to stab you for your coin purse. You're going to be bored. Someone who comes up to you and says; "Hey, wanna watch two grown men swing bits of metal at eachother?" is going to sound like a true friend.

After you spend enough moons sitting around and digging bits of grinding stone from your bleeding gums due to archaic milling practices, that is. You're going to entertain pain and danger greater than your own as your only means of comfort in a cruel, depressing atmosphere of having nothing but base desires and emotions wishing to be sated. This is why it seems half the world can laugh when an actor on screen suffers torments beyond the pale of average civil society. Because we're no better than those Roman peasants suffering horrors and expecting worse horrors from others to alleviate our own for a brief moment of escapism.

(Edit) I can guarantee, in only a 200 years from now your upstanding, enlightened self who should shun these excesses of gratuitous indulgences of the past will be spurned and looked down upon by a generation who will see those still alive today as mindless consumers of base pleasures. People who consumed half of the world's fossil fuels, whilst properly feeding only an sixth of the world, to entertain a livelihood far beyond their means. Sickening, bloodthirsty louts who did nothing but satisfy base desires without a care for those that would come after. Time and history have a habit of making us all bastards.
 

MonsterCrit

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Feb 17, 2015
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Yes, because we never really stopped. I mean Boxing, martial arts, MMA, Pro Wrestling are basically just that. Gladiatorial combat. Heck tat's basically 50% of the film industry right there where you get to watch the fianl showdown with the hero and the villain beating each other senseless.
 

Vicarious Reality

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Jul 10, 2011
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Fijiman said:
The only way I see gladiatorial combat making a comeback in this day and age is if it's robots beating the shit out of one another until one or the other no longer functions.
Good news everyone! Actually, very old news.



my news have been defeated
 

bartholen_v1legacy

A dyslexic man walks into a bra.
Jan 24, 2009
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It's funny how limited a view people seem to have about gladiatorial combat. In most of the posts here it seems to be interpreted as "One on one fights to the death in the style of ancient Rome". Note that the OP merely described "the concept of gladiators" being revived. If that meant the first sentence I put in quotes, I probably would watch it once out of curiosity, but no more. But expand your view of what that could mean when revamped to modern times, and IMO it could provide very interesting results. Why not go for a "harm, not kill" approach, where fatal moves are prohibited, and if a contestant suffers severe injury, they're given full medical assistance? Why not themed group fights, say, a team of medieval knights vs. a modern swat squad with batons? Or gather a blackbelt of every martial art known to man, and have them duke it out in a free-for-all.
 

Queen Michael

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Jun 9, 2009
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No, I'm Swedish, and it's one thing to watch a Roman named Maximus kill in the Colosseum of Rome. It's another thing to watch a fighter called Per-Arne kill somebody at Ullevi in Göteborg.
 

Thaluikhain

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Jan 16, 2010
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The_Kodu said:
Yes.

You know why ?

Because a lot of what Gladiatorial combat was like has been greatly exaggerated by most media.

It's been suggested that for the most part Gladiator fights were mostly no more of a huge bloodsport than wrestling really.

The idea being that people aren't really going to want to go in for life or death fights all the time.
It's been suggested that fights to the death were very rare and watching animals rip apart gladiators was mostly a myth too.

The suggestions I've heard were that Animals were often de-clawed and gladiator training etc was centred around learning to hit people with a sword in areas that would bleed but cause little lasting damage beyond maybe a scar.

Just think for a moment in a small Colosseum there would be what 1 set of events a week. You just can't keep killing replacing and training what 5 or more people each week. It's suggested a lot of it was at least in part rigged to help create fan favourites etc too very much like modern Wrestling
Yes and no. Certainly, it was cheaper not to keep killing people off, and to create fan favourites with careers.

OTOH, you had a lot of really rich people wanting to put on extravagant shows. IIRC, they had to pass a law to limit the amount of gladiators fighting, after Caesar had a show with, again IIRC, several hundred gladiators killing each other. Not cause killing people was bad, but because it meant that Caesar had a small army in the city, which worried people.

Then again, they did mix other stuff in with the combat like athletics.
 

J Tyran

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Dec 15, 2011
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No, not at all. I have no interest in watching living things that can feel pain, distress and fear getting mutilated or killed (I can barely watch the stuff Sea Shepard.org where I am a supporter post) I certainly have no interest in watching people do the same for entertainment.