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Synopsis

Gladiatorial combat formed the seminal experience and spectacle of the Roman Empire †its regime of all-out bloodshed, mutilation and decapitation allowed the Empire to flourish with ever-more innovative slaughterhouse-spectacles designed to propel their audiences' corporeal and sensory experiences beyond all boundaries. Those combats exacted extreme ritualistic discipline and subservience from both fighters and audiences, so that the arenas in which combat took place formed worlds apart in which all desires, including sexual obsessions, could be instantaneously gratified. With the collapse of the Roman Empire, that gladiatorial world instantly disintegrated, but it remains a compelling contemporary preoccupation †manifested in such films as Gladiator and Spartacus: Blood and Sand †through the vast ruins of its arenas and the aura of sheer sensorial ferocity which that culture generated. Taken from Stephen Barber's ground-breaking study "Caligula: Divine Carnage", this definitive and original summation of gladitorial spectacle is the result of many years of exhaustive on-site research, across Europe, as well as into the Roman Empire's iconographical and archival records. It offers a visceral, unprecedented experience of the culture of the Gladiator. This special ebook edition includes bonus material in the form of a history of the gladiator revolution led by Spartacus, Crixus and Oenomaus in 73BC.

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