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Gladiators Rising

Updated: Apr 21



Some background materials for the episode:

Common types of gladiators. The trax (thrax, thraex) was meant to reference thracians, who were viewed by the Greeks and Romans as warlike: the god Ares had his mythical origins in Thrace, and Spartacus was from there as well. The trax fighters evolved into other types, including the murmillo, which was Spartacus' main role. The lightly armed retiarius was often matched against the heavily armed secutor (Commodus' favorite tole), whose helmet was designed to not get caught in the net as much as that of the types in the top row. The scissor type was also matched with the retiarius, and had utensils to cut the net.


Main Roman roads. The Via Appia led South from Rome through the Campania to Brindisi. In Roman times, Capua was the second city in Italy, and the heartland of the gladiator business. The gladiator school of Batiatus, where the Spartacus uprising began, was in Capua. The last remnants - still thousands - of the slave army were crucified along the Via Appia.


The German Spartacus uprising. In the aftermath of the first world war, German communists rose up to seize power. The communist party (KPD) had previously been known as the Spartacus league, and the uprising has therefore entered the history books as the Spartacist uprising. Decommissioned units of the former Germany army, organized in 'free corps', were recruited by the new social democratic government to stop the spartacists.


Rosa Luxemburg memorial. The spot where Rosa Luxemburg, one of the leaders of the Spartacist uprising, had been dumped into the canal - after being shot - by proto-fascist members of the free corps.

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