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Film Review: The Gladiator Mark Lee Hickman The movie follows the character Maximus Decimus Meridius

thru the transition of power from


Marcus Aurelius to his son Commodus. Commodus is jealous of the relationship that his father and Maximus shares. When he finds out that his Father wants to name Maximus as his heir, he kills his father and ascends to the thrown before his fathers wishes are known. When Maximus does not unite with Commodus he is ordered to be killed along with his family. Maximus escapes but is too late to save his wife and son. He is captured by Merchant and sold in the slavery. He becomes a Gladiator and fights his way into the games in Coliseum. He uses his training and drive for revenge to excel in the Games. He comes to the attention of Commodus and after a failed escape he gets the chance to fight Commodus in the Games. Before the fight he is stabbed by Commodus to better his chances. He defeats Commodus

while also winning the crowd and soldiers in attendances. He will dies as well from loss of blood. I really enjoyed the movie and looking at it from a different stand point then just entertainment. A lot of the main characters are historical people who actually lived. But the main character Maximus Decimus Meridius was a fictional character. Ceasar Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus symbolizes the Golden Age for the Roman Empire. The general population had known peace and prosperity for many years before he takes control. He is only in the movie long enough to set up the main conflict between Maximus and Commodus. In reading thru the Britannica he was more involved in the Government side while his adopted brother ran the wars in the East. In the movie he speaks to Maximus about the legacy he would like to leave behind. He did not want to be known for the wars and territories that he conquered while trying to expand the Empire. He wanted to be known as philosopher and sage.

He did pass away fighting the Germanic tribes by the Danube River. But the common belief is that he died of the plague. He had already pro-claimed his son Commodus as co-ruler 3 years earlier after the death of his brother. Even though he did have problems with the Senate, Commodus was liked by the general population. There were several attempts on his life. The most well know involved his sister and a group of Senators. It is this plot that is portrayed in the movie. As the assassination attempts continued Commodus seems to slowly go crazy. He is portrayed in the movie to be skilled as a fighter. In real life he begins to see himself as the god Hercules. He does fight in the coliseum against Gladiators and wild beasts. Apparently he was very good because he never lost. We see the Senate getting tired of his rule when he wants to accept the consulship dressed as a Gladiator. He counselors are finally so fed up they have him strangled to death in a bath house . When I take what I saw in the movie with what I have studied and compare it to the Evolution of Civilizations I see the stage Age of Conflict that is quickly followed by the Age of Decay. We see a growing conflict between the Senate and the Ceaser when Commodus ascends to Ceasar. We also see some conflict within the Senate of members against members. It portrays to me two different ideologies. One being that the Senate is to serve the People and the other that they are to serve their own ideas maintain power. We see the struggle of Power with the Senate and Ceasar in the attempts on Commoduss life along with the retaliation Commodus having several leading members of the Senate killed. After Commodus is killed the Roman Empire falls relatively quickly into civil war. His successor Publius Helvius Pertinax was murdered after 3 months. He was followed by Marcus Didius Julianus who

was also murderd after 3 months. He was followed by Severus who ruled by military might. He ignored the Senate and had to fight off rivals for the next couple years. Just as with the Pharoahs rule of Egypt and the decline after Ramses II, we see Rome steadily decline. We see a strong ruler every and then but they will never attain the Military and Economic power they once had. The film definantly was made for Hollywood but was able to put a lot of true characters into the film. The only main character that definantly is fictional is Maxmius Decimus Meridius played by Russel Crow. The events surrounding the Death of Marcos Aurelius and Commodus are not correct. But as far as the Wars with the Germanic tribes, the Gladiators and the attempt on Commoduss life involving his sister and members of the Senate is correct.

Sources: http://www.britannica.com/