Friday, 20 October 2006

Gladiators of the 21st century?

"I knew that by becoming a gladiator, I was entering a duel with death. But that was better than remaining a slave working in the stone mines. By becoming a gladiator, I could determine my own destiny".

This is an excerpt of the memoirs of a gladiator in ancient Rome, outlining the reasons his chose to become a gladiator, rather than remain a slave.

Many gladiators chose this "profession" in order to gain fame or pay off their debts.

In modern times, we like to think that people have more options available to them than the "slave or gladiator" option set of Roman slaves.

If everybody had the chance to make their hobby into a professional activity, then the world would be a better place, claim some.

Who are the modern "gladiators"?
a) high fliers/executives
b) athletes
c) actors
d) politicians
e) ordinary people?

What are the Colloseums of today? The media spotlight? The top exec market? The job market?

Is it about fame or about power?

Fame or power over which, for how long?

It is a myth that in each duel, one of gladiators had to die. A gladiator had a 90% chance of leaving a duel alive.

Plus gladiators were afforded the best health services Rome had to offer. Cause a gladiator represented a significant investment for his sponsor.

A gladiator's take home pay following each victory was equal to a year's pay of a Roman soldier. A premium justified? By what parameters?

A dead gladiator's family received a significant reward.

Who are the "gladiators" of today? What kind of "slavery" are they escaping from?

What alternatives (decision options) do they have, to being "gladiators"?

"Some of Rome's most powerful men were shouting out my name in celebration, but I felt numb", wrote the gladiator in his memoirs.


Note: Around 80 BC, the Roman Emperor Titus inaugurated the Colloseum to confront his enemies (by gaining more public support) and introduced the presence of tigers and other wild animals in the arena fights, in order to increase the appeal of the "games" to the public. The rules of the games also changed. The crowds decided if the loser gladiator was to die or to have his life spared.
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