Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Violence in Sports: A Comparison of Gladiatorial Games in Ancient Rome to the Sports of America

Gladiator fights at "Brot und Spiele"...
Gladiator fights at "Brot und Spiele", Germany's biggest Roman festival (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Gladiatorial games in Ancient Rome and modem sports have more in common than we would like to believe. Violence has been a key component to the success of each ofthese activities. Many spectators watched as the Coliseum was filled with blood from brutal gladiatorial matches. Today, hundreds offans watch as two grown men hit one another in a boxing ring. After examining gladiatorial games and looking at modem sports one may notice similarities between the two. These similarities suggest that modern sports seem to be just as violent as games in Ancient Rome.

The Romans believed that they inherited the practice of gladiatorial games from the Etruscans who used them as part of a funeral ritual. The first gladiatorial games were offered in Rome in 264 BCE by sons of Junius Brutus Pera in their father’s honor. Gladiatorial combat was originally part of a religious ceremony that was intended to insure that the dead would be accompanied to the next world by armed attendants and that the spirits ofthe dead would be appeased with this offering of blood. Although this ritual began as a ceremony to honor important men after their death, it began to lose its religious significance and it became a more popular sport.