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January 21, 2005

Win without wounding

Professor Steve Tuck of the University of Miami refers to medieval and renaissance fighting manuals to argue that Roman gladiators rarely fought to the death. He also makes a rather important observation that is blindingly obvious once it is pointed out.

"The emperor Marcus Aurelius put salary caps on gladiators, and to get to this state of affairs they must have represented a massive capital outlay for their owners.

"Now, it makes no sense at all for the gladiators, at such cost, to be killed in battle, because it would be like throwing money away. The gladiators were meant to be recognised, similar to the famous sportspeople of today, and they had great status comparable to the highest levels of professional athletes.

"By that fact alone they are not disposable, and their owners would not expect to lose their investment every time somebody stepped out into the arena.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at January 21, 2005 09:09 AM

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