History: Gladiators

May 26, 2010

Ok, the movie was kind of awesome....But the real games? Pretty nasty.

When we think of the Roman culture, we often think of Gladiators. The public killing of humans for sport was the national pastime. The games were so popular that, in times of economic recession and war, the government would subsidize the games to ensure their continued operation.

So why did the games end? What made this popular national pastime disappear? There is a good reason to believe that it had something to do with the rise of the Christian religion.

As Christianity grew, history shows a growing chorus of influential church leaders decrying the games. In the third century the Tertullian (highly influential Christian theologian) condemned the games as murder. His views reflected a general consensus in Christianity. As the church expanded, moral objections to the games expanded as well.

When Constantine (the first Christian Emperor of Rome) took office he put heavy restrictions on the games. Ten years into his rule he banned them altogether.


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