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Gladiator: The Roman Fighter's (Unofficial) Manual
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 22 June 2011
I bought the author's previous book (Legionary, the Roman Soldier's manual) and enjoyed it. This book carries on in the same vein; it's light-hearted, entertaining and full of useful information. It gives you a good understanding of the lives and culture of gladiators in the time of Marcus Aurelius (who died in 180 AD, so it covers same period as the movie Gladiator). The different types of fighter are explained, including those who had to fight wild animals and those sentenced to fight as a punishment for crimes. He covers the organisation of the gladiator schools and how the fighters were supported and trained, the role of gladiators (and ex-gladiators) in society and quite a bit on how likely you are to get killed if you decide to be a gladiator. The whole book is written as a contemporary guide for anyone who might be tempted to have a go in the arena (and quite a few were tempted, including emperors). The photos and plentiful illustrations make this a excellent visual reference.
Although I still don't really know whether the emperor's thumbs-up sign meant kill him or let him go, I now know what the crowd would be shouting and why the emperor might still order an injured man who had fought well to be killed. If you have any interest in Roman culture, this book is well worth buying.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 March 2014
The perfect gift for all Roman history enthusiasts is THE ROMA VICTRIX WINE BEAKERCalix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker
As with his previous work Legionary: (The Roman Soldier's (Unofficial) Manual) Gladiator: The Roman Fighter's [Unofficial] Manual is another humorous yet informative account on how to become a gladiator. This is not a scholarly treatise but a fast paced in-depth look at the life and death of a gladiator,

Each of the nine chapters deals with some aspect of gladiatorial life; why one would chose to become a gladiator, the origins of the 'games,' the arena, living conditions and training, the various types of gladiatorial fighters, 'groupies,' rituals of combat, and more, such as the differences and similarities between soldiers and gladiators. The work ends, as was the case with most gladiators, with 'Death and Other Alternatives to Retirement.'"

The perfect companion to this excellent work is THE ROMA VICTRIX WINE beaker, the author himself is the proud owner of one. This is what he has to say:
! THE DETAIL ON THE PANELS IS EXQUISITE. THE OVERALL EFFECT IS BOTH HANDSOME AND IMPRESSIVE. OVERALL, THIS BEAKER HAS PROVEN TO BE BOTH A HIGHLY PRACTICAL DRINKING VESSEL AND AN ORNAMENT TO WHATEVER SURFACE IT RESTS ON!Calix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker

This wonderful booklet is lavishly illustrated with good line drawings and photographs of re-enactors, glossary and further reading guide. Highly recommended.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 16 January 2012
Informative as well as enjoyable, you'll read it through as you would a novel. Probably it is its "unofficial" side that renders the reading easy and fluid. Historically its thorough research is impeccable and exhaustive all the same.

It never tries to pull you on the sensational side but adhers to the title.

An excellent series. For beginners as well as experts.

Bravo.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 8 June 2011
Fun and informative. There's a lot of good well-researched stuff in here but it's v entertaining and easy to read. There are even colour photos of gladiators (both from mosaics & sculptures and modern-day re-enactors. The latter a startling thought!) With a map, a glossary, lashings of relevant quotes, pictures with witty captions, suggestions for further reading and a faintly obscene tintinnabulum: what more can you want?
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 21 April 2011
First rate read, informative and amusing. I also recommend Philip Matyszak's Gladiator written in the same style. Both books are excellent.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 16 February 2013
I have read a lot of books abut ancient Rome and gladiators and this is the best one. While it is very good from a historical perspective, it also gives you a very lively account of the life of a gladiator.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 5 March 2013
Chose this item due to my intrest in all things Roman. Well recommended due to content and way it is written. Very thought prevokin read. Excellant value.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 25 February 2013
This is an interesting and well written,look at the world of the gladiator.
It covers life ,training ,the arenas and retirement.
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on 22 October 2014
good
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 12 August 2014
It's ok but not much new information.
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