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The Gladiators: History's Most Deadly Sport

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  248 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
Superfit, muscled, and macho, gladiators were hero-worshipped for their skills and courage as they fought to the death, yet despised for their humble status. For over six cruel centuries, tens of thousands died in the blood soaked arenas of Rome and its colonies, watched by enthralled crowds screaming for violence. Professor Fik Meijer has ingeniously pieced together their ...more
Paperback, 267 pages
Published March 6th 2007 by Griffin (first published 2003)
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Jan 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
Fik Meijer must have done a world of research for this book. Chapter by chapter one learns of how gladiators were made, what they ate, what they wore, where they slept, how they prepared for battle...just amazing detail of the gladiators' day-to-day existence.

The book also touches on: the political history of how the sport came into being, why it went on for so long, and how and why it was stopped; how the victims were chosen and explanations of what they went through; the mentality of the crowd
Vedran Karlić
Aug 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Zaista sjajno štivo koje pokušava što vjerodostojnije prikazati sve vezano uz gladijatorske igre. Od njihova nastanka pa do nestanka, preko toga kako je izgledao jedan dan takvog spektakla, pisac se služi dostupnim izvorima, bez ikakvog veličanja događaja. Štoviše, od samog početka se postavio tako da današnji čovjek ne bi smio suditi gladijatorstvo na temelju današnjih moralno etičkih načela. Kako je borba dva čovjeka na smrt iz današnje perspektive gnjusna, baš kao i pravi pokolji životinja. N ...more
Đurđica Novak
Mar 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Željela sam saznati ponešto o ovoj temi, ali ova knjiga je prava studija povijesti gladijatorskih igara od nastanka do njihovog kraja temeljena na povijesnim izvorima. Saznala sam sve o vrstama gladijatora, njihovoj opremi, oružju, tko se s kim mogao međusobno boriti, o gladijatorskim školama, nagradama, njihovom statusu u društvu, kako je izgledao jedan dan u areni: od isceniranog lova na divlje zvijeri, izvršenja smrtih kazni u podnevnoj pauzi do popodnevnih gladijatorskih igara, gdje su se ig ...more
Aug 23, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dutch, non-fic
A thraex fighting a retiarius? No Mister Kubrick!

I bought this a few years ago in a museum shop and I recently found it again. This an interesting little book. It is engaging and easy to read, but at the same time well-researched and honest. Fik Meijer gives references for all his findings, but they never intrude on the flow of reading and he’s not afraid to say ‘let’s be honest, we just don’t know’. Besides giving us the historical facts and evidence he also cleverly points out that there is da
May 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all readers with interest for the Roman Empire
A very good and readable study about the way Romans enjoyed the gladiator fights, chariot races and theatre. The most famous arena for gladiator fights is the Colosseum, which is a nickname. Near the Colosseum stood an enormous statue of Nero. The official name is Amphiitheatrum Flavium .
Rich senators and the emperor organized big events to increase their popularity. Most of the citizens of Rome lived in poverty. The games were mend to help the emperor and the senate to suppress opposition and
Jun 25, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I nice and comprehensive compilation of information concerning the history of the gladiator. You may get flashes of the movie Gladiator swirling in your imagination, but the author quickly dashes those sometimes inaccurate images as he continues on his journey of informing the reading public of the more real version of the story of the gladiator and the gladiator battles.
Rick Brindle
Apr 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
An excellent, thoroughly accessible and readable history about gladiators. However much of an expert you are, this will probably add to your knowledge somewhere along the line. Uncovering some of the myths, as well as having a swipe at some of the less than accurate (but still entertaining) films on the subject.
Jan 07, 2012 added it
Who doesn't love a gladiators? Now I need to go to Rome...
Eric Mayle
Jan 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
A little bit dry, sort of academic and wonky, nevertheless a thorough examination of the cultural phenomenon which has inspired so much after it: the gladiatorial combat. Detail-heavy and well-documented, but not super-entertaining (as a good historical text rarely is). 8/10.
Erik Graff
Dec 04, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Classics and WWF fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: history
Originally published in Dutch, Meijer's Gladiators is a short, accessible introduction to gladiatorial contests and related entertainments from the third century BCE until the fifth CE when the last are recorded. The translator, Liz Waters, is to be commended for her work. Though sticking closely to documentary evidence, the text is exceptionally clear for one coming in translation from a scholar of classical antiquity.

I've read one other book focused on the subject, also translated, but found M
Matti Karjalainen
Hollantilaisen historioitsijan katsaus gladiaattoritaisteluihin on suppeahko mutta ihan mielenkiintoista luettavaa kaikille antiikista kiinnostuneille. Kirjassa käsitellään muun muassa gladiaattorien aseistusta, vaihtelevaa suhtautumista veriseen kansanhuviin, eläimiä vastaan käytyjä taisteluja, naisgladiaattoreita ja muuta sen sellaista. Lukijan silmien eteen kuvaillaan myös päivää Colosseumilla sekä käsitellään lyhyesti Hollywood-elokuvien gladiaattorikuvaa.

Jos kirjasta ei muuta saa irti, niin
Feb 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lukuhaaste-2017
Todenmukaisesti kirjoitettu kirja gladiaattoreiden historiasta. Kirjailija pystyy epäilemään kantaansa ja kritisoimaan lähteitään ja silti kirja jaksaa pitää otteessaan loppuun saakka. Suosittelen niille, jotka ovat kiinnostuneita sen ajan historiasta.
Fik kuvaa kirjassaan gladiaattorien historiaa, millaisia näytöksiä kaiken kaikkiaan esitettiin, heidän elämäänsä ja kahta tunnetuinta gladiaattorielokuvaa (Spartacus ja Gladiaattori). Käsittelyssä on myös areenat, joilla näytökset käytiin ja millaisia eläimiä niille tuotiin. Kaikki tämä on kiedottu oikein mielenkiintoiseen pakettiin tästä Rooman tavattoman verisestä ”urheilusta”, joka ei todella ole kaukana nykymaailman väkivaltaviihteestä.
Jeff Fabiny
Jun 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
The book had a very presentational feel; which might work for some people might not for others. I don't really like how authors sometimes sensationalize a topic to kind of foster interest. You either want to read about the topic or you don't.

Fik was very informed and interesting. Most of the book is foundational knowledge. Look elsewhere for extensive analysis.
Alexander Kennedy
Feb 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: rome
This book answered most questions I had about gladiators. Sadly, no ancient author chronicled a day at the Colosseum, so the historian is left to patch together what the spectacle looked like. Meijer also demonstrates how the movie Gladiator is not historically accurate. This is an easy read.
Vince Ciaramella
Feb 21, 2013 rated it liked it
A great one-stop-shop for all things Gladiators. I got a little bored reading it though. I don't think it was really the author as much as the fact I got out of it what I wanted by half way through the book. But if you want to learn about history's deadliest you go.
Jan 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Its a history book about the Roman Gladiators...I liked the book, it describes how the gladiators fought and talked about what events happened during the collesuem fights.
Aug 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
May 25, 2013 rated it did not like it
Kudos to Mr. Meijer, for he did what I once thought impossible: he bored the hell out of me with a history about gladiators.
Sep 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
Not bad - an interesting insight into what the world of the gladiators and games would have been. Detailed without being too graphic. Sometimes a bit dry, but I enjoyed it.
Anu Korpinen
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Dec 01, 2013
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Dec 27, 2013
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May 23, 2017
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Feb 08, 2015
Kari Salokas
rated it it was ok
Mar 11, 2011
Leigh Larranaga
rated it it was amazing
Nov 22, 2016
Paolo Grill
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Feb 15, 2013
Jason Reeves
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Apr 08, 2014
Jerry Teipen
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Jan 21, 2014
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Nov 01, 2015
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Fik Meijer, emeritus professor of Antiquity, has written numerous non-fiction books on the Ancient World for a broad audience. He has also published several translations of classic works into Dutch.
More about Fik Meijer

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