gladiator1 - Julia Ko Professor McDonnell Late Roman Art...

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Julia Ko Professor McDonnell Late Roman Art History 2/28/2008 Romanitas as Depicted by Hollywood The vast Roman Empire has inspired creative and artistic efforts throughout time and “The Gladiator” was Hollywood’s version and depiction of Rome during the reign of Commodus, circa 180 AD. With a story line of simple heroism, it was filmed in accordance with Hollywood's agenda of generating revenue. Therefore, historic accuracy was not of priority and unnecessary to appeal to vast number of audiences around the world. As a result, the architecture, characters and content were not accurately representative of Rome during the reign of Commodus. The architectural depiction of the Colosseum, upper class societal behavior and gladiatorial qualities were significantly mis-portrayed in the movie, “The Gladiator”. The majority of the film took place in Rome and in particular, the Colosseum. Rome during the turn of the second century saw the widespread exporting of Roman culture, government, and law to colonies in Northern Africa, Great Britain, parts of Germany, Eastern Europe around the Black Sea, Mesopotamia and the northern part of the Arabian Peninsula. The Romans actively built up large urban centers throughout the Empire based on an established military format or castrum and cultural institutions, such as the Colosseum, one of the most prominent signatures of Roman culture (McDonnell, Lecuture In the movie, it appears that the Colosseum was elliptical in shape and architecturally correct in terms of basic dimensions and design. The Flavian
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Amphitheater, built by Vespasian was an endeavor to reclaim the land for public use from Nero. Essentially built on the the lake of Nero’s Gold Domus, it was 170 feet wide and 40 feet deep with the capacity to hold 50,000 people. (Kleiner 128). It’s external depiction appeared relatively accurate with series of vaulted arches as support for the multi level structure, but the actual Flavian Amphitheater contained no large figural sculptures situated in the arches nor were there series of flags circulating the top ridge of the structure. Although, the movie placed a series of velariums, held up by a giant awning with wooden poles that shaded the crowd below, historically, there was only one giant velarium for the entire arena. The actual structure in Rome was decorated in the Greek tradition: Tuscan Doric, Ionic and Corinthian, progressing upwards (Kleiner 129). The movie clearly made no effort to distinguish between the different styles.
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gladiator1 - Julia Ko Professor McDonnell Late Roman Art...

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