The Gladiators by Fik Meijer Book Review Everyone knows or has an idea on what a gladiator is. Many people get their perspectives of a gladiator from mainly get their information from movies and shows. In the book The Gladiators, by Fik Meijer, he goes in depth from the beginning of gladiators to how it gradually disappeared in the Roman empire. Meijer describes this bloodthirsty sport very well and provides great information on every aspect of the sport. His facts are backed up with a lot of evidence and information he presents is very interesting.
Even though it reads like a history book, the book doesn’t really get extremely boring and keeps me interested. If anyone wants to know about the true history and has many questions about gladiators, I would recommend this book. In The Gladiators, Meijer covers every topic you can think of when it comes to the history of the sport. Its not only gladiators themselves, but also where they fought, how much it cost, and etc. He obviously covers the origins and the disappearance of the sport, but there are also surprising topics. For example, the different types of gladiators and even female gladiators.
Meijer explains the different types of gladiators, “The types of gladiator most commonly referred to are thraeces, murmillones, hoplomachi, retiarii, secutores, provocatores ,essedarii, dimachaeri, velites, paegniarii, equites and andabatae” (90). This book goes in depth in the gladiator life style. It goes beyond more than just two men fighting in a arena. If you have a question about the gladiators, its most likely that you will find your answer in this book. Meijer writes the book in a very easy and understandable way. I overall did not have any trouble in reading the text or had a hard time getting the information.
It was all straight forward and to the point. Some may find that boring, but I like the fact that it reads like a history book because Meijer does a good job with the organization and flow of the book. Even though there are many words that are not in my vocabulary, especially the words he uses from the Romans, the glossary in the back of the book takes care of that. All the words italicize are easily found in the glossary with no hassle. I also liked the way he would put the Roman word after explaining it in English, for example, “He is believed to have fought arms only with a spear (iaculum)” (95).
The book was very organized and flowed very nice, even though you can tell this was more a history book. He used evidence to support his information and made it very clear and crisp. The only think I didn’t really like was that I couldn’t remember the Roman words or pronounce them sometimes, but that’s just a personal thing. The graphics and illustrations in the book really helped. All of the graphics and illustrations helped show what he was explaining. It was all relevant and none of the pictures were there just to be there. I especially enjoyed the pictures of the different arenas and places the gladiators fought.
It gave me a good idea of how it looked and how the crazy the place would be if it were to be packed with people screaming while gladiators were fighting . A lot of the art pieces he displayed in the book were really eye catching. It helped express his facts and was well organized in where he put the photos. While reading the book, I believe that Meijer does provide accurate information throughout the book. In the introduction of the book, he explains why he wrote this book and his interest in gladiators. He seems to have some passion while writing this book and has a lot of evidence to back himself up.
The reviews on the back and front of the book also gives me good reason to trust his information. Meijer would also put in text from different authors during the time he would be talking about. “Martial describes one inconclusive fight: Priscus manages to draw out the fight. Versus, too, and their strengths remained well matched” (167). When Meijer would put text from different authors, it gives me more evidence and confidence in his information. His graphics and illustrations helped. All the pictures look like they are real and support what he is talking about well.
Throughout the book I felt confident that the information was reliable. At first glance, I was personally interested in the book. Gladiators has always been something I was interested in and the bloodthirsty sport always had me wondering why it was so popular. From movies and media, gladiators make a very good action theme. Who wouldn’t think gladiators are cool? So I was happy to have picked this book for my history book review. Meijer does a good job in keeping it interesting. The topics range from things you think about, to things that you never thought existed when it came to gladiators.
Most the information in the book was things I never even thought about when it came to gladiators. So the fact that I was surprised by the content kept me extremely interested in the book. One of the really interesting topics was the Sea Battles. “Sea battles were part of a tradition going back to Caesar as well. To allow his victories in Gaul, Egypt, Asia Minor and North Africa to stir the imagination even further, he staged sea battles on a specially dug lake in what is now Rome’s Trastevere or, again, on the Campus Martius” (178).
Topics like these kept me interested thought the whole book. There were plenty of more things he discussed that kept my eyes glued to the book. I didn’t expect the book to have such intriguing information, but the surprise was delightful. To people who want to learn more about gladiators, this book will be extremely useful. It just really tells you everything you need to know about the sport. You can also relate some things from the gladiators times to modern time. One good example is the Colosseum. We even have our own Colosseum, in Oakland!
It was good information knowing where and how the stadium for a big spectator sport was built. Who knows, if it weren’t for the Romans, would we ever have these huge stadiums today? This book would be useful to anyone that watched a gladiator movie also. In the movies, some information is accurate, yet some is not. Reading this book will definitely clear things up. In the book The Gladiators, Fik Meijer does a good job explaining the gladiator life. Whether it was gladiators themselves or the arenas they fought in, Meijer explains everything you can think of.
Everything from the audience to the people who despised the sport, its in the book. Before reading this book I wasn’t expecting 75% of the information that I read. It was a pleasant surprise. I have grown more interested in the gladiator life and even the Roman empire. But after reading this book, I felt as if I already know everything there is to gladiators! This book was well written and has great information. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for something interesting to read, especially if you in to gladiators, even a little bit.