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How Realistic Is Essay, Research Paper

How realistic is the movie Gladiator?

The box office hit Gladiator is driven by a Hollywood plot but retains a large amount of factual information. A lot of the characters names they used did exist but were not historically correct. The story-line of the movie was one created for the movie however it is quite realistically portrayed.

The basic plot starts with the Spaniard general of the Roman army, Maximus, leading his loyal troops to a heroic victory. The emperor Marcus Aurelius, who is approaching his death, asks Maximus to be his successor instead of his son Commodus. Commodus kills his father in reaction to the news and asks Maximus to serve him. When Maximus declines his offer and plots his death Commodus commands the death of Maximus and his family. He fights through his execution in attempt of saving his family but he arrives too late. Badly wounded he passes out is taken by slave traders. He is sold along with other slaves to Proximo to fight in the gladiator games.

Eventually they make it to the coliseum and Maximus becomes more popular with each victory he has. Commodus can t kill Maximus because Rome loves him so much, even though he knows that Maximus will kill him in revenge of his family and Marcus Aurelius. Commodus sister Annia Lucilla has a secret love for Maximus and a tremendous fear of Commodus. Commodus loves his sister and tries to bed her several times but never does. When he finds out that she loves Maximus and is going to help him escape he threatens if she doesn t tell him her plans he will kill her son Lucius Verus. She tells him how Maximus is supposed to meet his awaiting loyal army to come to Rome and kill Commodus. Commodus sets a trap and challenges Maximus to a gladiator fight but stabs Maximus before the fight. Maximus kills him in the fight but dies in the coliseum moments later. The people carry Maximus away to give him a proper burial and leave Commodus their. That s how the movie ends.

In reality Marcus Aurelius was emperor of Rome from 161 to 180 AD. He is best know not for his military career but for his book Meditations, which reveals his thoughtful mind and Stoic philosophy. He had two sons and five daughters. One son died four years after death and the other was Commodus. Annia Lucilla was also his daughter but was married to Lucius Verus who was actually Marcus Aurelius adopted into the imperial family as Marcus Aurelius brother and Commodus cousin. There was a Roman general named Maximus in the third century but he wasn t Spanish or a gladiator. Pulius Helvius Pertinax was a general who had served under Marcus Aurelius. He was stripped of his rank in 182 often Commodus suspected him in a plot and was sent away. Annia Lucilla was also suspected by Commodus when he took the throne and was exiled to Capri and then murdered. Commodus did not actually murder his father, he died of a disease, possibly small pox.

Commodus Ruled from 180 to 192 AD. He was accurately portrayed as largely ignorant to the affairs to the city and fascinated with games and gladiatorial combat. By 192, he was said to have become convinced that he was Hercules reincarnated and had Rome renamed as Commodianus. He hated the senate and took every opportunity to kill senators and seize their property. He was known for climbing into the “ring” and fight gladiators and animals, each fight was grossly fixed. Commodus was unsuccessfully poisoned and then later strangled to death in his tub. The city celebrated by removing his name from inscriptions and tearing down his statues.

Gladiators did exist and were as well known as celebrities. They would often endorse products as athletes do today on television. The gladiators themselves were slaves trained in gladiatorial “schools.” In the movie, Proximo, bought and trained his slaves as gladiators but in real life owners of gladiators usually did not train them, They were more like business men or politicians and employed a trainer to prepare the slaves as fighters.

The gladiator matches themselves weren t as brutal as the movie shows them to be. The fight would often be ended by first blood or surrender. Although 1 out of 10 gladiators died in battle. A successful gladiator could win his freedom from the emperor. Many who won their freedom would stay a gladiator and finish their career as one. In the movie the emperor would give thumbs up to kill the fighter or thumbs down for mercy. It is unclear how accurate this is. Some say it is, others think it could be the opposite, or that two fingers up meant death and a closed fist meant mercy.

This story, of course has a love story, intense action, and a secret plot considering it s a Hollywood film. But many parts of it are realistic historical facts. In is not impractical for this to have actually happened. The character are a little off base to reality but how each of them acted is fairly close to the truth. Overall, I would say that the facts are remotely accurate.

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