Warrior Slaves


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Transcript


Voice 1

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Robin Basselin.

Voice 2

And I’m Ryan Geertsma. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand - no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1

The Colosseum is a beautiful, ancient building. It is in the city of Rome, Italy. Roman leaders built it nearly 2,000 years ago. They built it to celebrate after winning a war. The Colosseum was a symbol of Rome’s wealth. Even today, it is one of the most well-known buildings in the world.

Voice 2

This beautiful building was an arena. It was a building used for sport – particularly the sport of fighting. In ancient Rome, thousands of people gathered at the Colosseum. They came to watch gladiators fight. These men fought for many different reasons. But gladiators all had one thing in common - they were fighting for their lives. Today’s Spotlight is on the glory and tragedy of Roman gladiators and arena fighting.

Voice 1

Gladiators were an important part of ancient Roman culture. People saw them as a symbol of Rome’s power. Gladiators were both heroes and victims. Sometimes, gladiators fought against animals. Other times, they fought against other gladiators. And usually, they fought until someone died.

Voice 2

The first Roman gladiators were not trained fighters. They were slaves, people who were captured in wars, and criminals. This is why some people call gladiators “warrior slaves.” Most of these early gladiators did not want to fight. They fought because they were forced to. And they fought to save their lives. However, there were some gladiators who wanted to fight. They chose to be gladiators to win money, honor, and fame. Gladiators who won many fights often became famous - like sports heroes today.

Voice 1

Flamma was a very famous gladiator. He fought until the day he died. At first, Flamma was forced to fight because he was a slave. However, after many victories, officials offered him freedom. In fact, officials offered him freedom four different times. But each time, he decided to keep fighting.

Voice 2

Flamma was proud of his fighting. He won over 20 gladiator fights. Flamma died at the age of 30. After he died, his friends honoured him. They put a stone where he is buried. It says he was a great man. It also lists a record of his many battles and victories.

Voice 1

Marcus Atillius was another famous gladiator. He was not a slave. Instead, he fought for money. He is most famous for defeating two great gladiators. They were the most honored gladiators of his time - Hilarus and Lucius Raecius.

Voice 2

Marcus Atillius’ battles with Hilarus and Lucius were unusual. In most battles, the losing gladiator was killed. However, Hilarus and Lucius fought very well. So, officials allowed them to live. Sometimes, gladiators like Hilarus and Lucius won honor and freedom - even when they lost a battle.

Voice 1

Gladiators like Flamma and Marcus Atillius chose to fight for money and fame. However, most gladiators did not want to fight. They wanted to be free. Priscus and Verus fought each other in one of the longest gladiator battles ever. They fought long and evenly. In fact, they both admitted defeat at the exact same time. Since they fought so well, the Roman emperor or leader declared them both winners. And he awarded them their freedom.

Voice 2

Some gladiators protested their poor treatment. And some even tried to escape their slavery. Spartacus was the most famous rebel gladiator. He was born in northern Greece. And he was sold into Roman slavery. As a slave, Spartacus was forced to become a gladiator. He trained at a gladiator school. Slaves like Spartacus were given shelter and fed good food. This was to help them become better fighters. However, they were still unhappy. The men who guarded the gladiators were very mean. For most of the slaves, life in gladiator school was bad.

Voice 1

The gladiators were unhappy with these conditions. So, Spartacus and nearly 70 other gladiators planned a revolt. They formed a group and escaped. Other rebel slaves joined them. Together, they became a slave army. They fought the Romans for their freedom. However, the Romans had a better trained army. And after many battles, Spartacus died. Soon, the revolt ended. The slaves did not win their freedom. However, even today people still remember Spartacus and his slave army. Spartacus was a gladiator who valued his freedom more than money or fame.

Voice 2

Slaves were not the only people forced to fight in arenas like the Colosseum. Many criminals were punished and killed in these arenas. And some people were killed because of their religious beliefs. In the first and second century, some Roman leaders killed Christians. At this time, the Christian community was new and growing. The Christians refused to worship the Roman leaders. And many Christians died for their beliefs.

Voice 1

Perpetua was one of the most famous Christians killed in arena fighting. You may have heard another Spotlight program called “Perpetua: A Woman of Faith.” This program told the story of how Perpetua refused to worship anyone but God. She was put in prison. Later, guards brought her to the arena. They released wild animals to attack her. Finally, she was killed by a gladiator.

Voice 2

Today, many people still visit the Colosseum in Rome. They remember it as a sign of Roman power and wealth. They remember the gladiators and think of them as heroes who fought for honor. But we must not forget the other side of arena fighting. Many gladiators were forced to fight as slaves. Other people died for their beliefs. Alan Baker explains both the good and bad sides of Roman arena fighting. In his book, “The Gladiator” he writes,

Voice 3

“The gladiators were the superstars of their day. People loved them and followed them in the streets... At the same time, their job promised that they would have a horrible, bloody death. Some gladiators won money, retired, and then lived in peace. But most died in hot sand, surrounded by the cheers of the crowd.”

Voice 1

There are often two sides to a story. There is the good side and the bad. This is true for the story of Roman arena fighting. Some gladiators were superstars. And some were victims. We may want to concentrate only on the good parts of the story. But it is important to remember both the good and the bad – the glory and the tragedy.

Voice 2

The writer of this program was Lauren Anders. The producer was Mark Drenth. The voices you heard were from United States. All quotes were adapted and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, “Warrior Slaves.”

Voice 1

You can leave your comments on our website. Or you can email us at radio@radioenglish.net. You can also find us on Facebook - just search for spotlightradio. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye!

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Question:

Have you heard about gladiators? How should people remember them?

Comments


Luis Piedra's avatar
Luis Piedra
said on September 29, 2012

Good program.
Is a history that born of the struggle for the life.

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aldo84fg
said on January 29, 2020

Good story, I know the Gladiators’ stories and people could remember them with a famous film “Gladiator”.

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Honneur
said on February 01, 2020

Very good program. Each era has its customs and practices. The ancient Romans liked gladiators and gave them money and glory, but some died brutally. Today, people like soccer. football, basketball, box, UFC and so on. It’s the same…