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Gladiators

By: Christopher Epplett
Narrated by: Matthew Josdal
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Publisher's Summary

A history of gladiators - with an added bite!

It's hard for modern listeners to truly grasp the spectacle that was arena sports in ancient Rome, which pitted man against man and man against beast in mortal combat. Our modern games of football and hockey, or even boxing and MMA, truly pale in comparison. The Gladiators is a comprehensive survey of these ancient sports, focusing on gladiatorial combat and the beast hunts (venationes). While many books have been written on arena spectacles in ancient Rome, they generally neglect the venationes, despite the fact that the beast hunts, of various dangerous wild animals (including lions, tigers, elephants, and rhinos), were almost as popular as gladiatorial spectacles and endured over a longer period of time. Dr. Christopher Epplett gives a full and detailed treatment of both types of spectacle.

The author starts by explaining the origins of these bloody combat sports in the late Roman Republic before surveying the growth of these events during the first two centuries of the Empire, when emperors possessed the resources to stage arena spectacles on an unmatched scale. The details of the training, equipment, and fighting styles used by different types of combatants are covered, as are the infrastructure of the arenas and behind-the-scenes organization that was essential to the successful staging of arena events. Particular attention is paid to the procurement of the countless wild animals necessary to stage venationes throughout the Empire. A gladiator book with added bite, The Gladiators is sure to be welcomed by scholars and general listeners alike.

Skyhorse Publishing, as well as our Arcade imprint, are proud to publish a broad range of books for listeners interested in history - books about World War II, the Third Reich, Hitler and his henchmen, the JFK assassination, conspiracies, the American Civil War, the American Revolution, gladiators, Vikings, ancient Rome, medieval times, the old West, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times best seller or a national best seller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.

©2016 Christopher Epplett (P)2017 Audible, Inc.
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about Gladiators

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A lot drier than the description lets on

This book is historical in nature obviously and history can be dry. Good writing can help to curb thus tendency and the author does do a good job of doing so but it still comes through a little overly scholastic. That being said if you happen to be a fan of history then you know there are times to bite the bullet and eat your veggies. Expanding the metaphor this book is like well cooked veggies- they taste decent but they are still veggies. There are glimpses of excitement within the work but (perhaps given the exciting nature of the subject) it always seems to fall flat. A lot of good material and would make a great referencing platform.

6 people found this helpful

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I wish narrators would do a little research on pronunciation before recording.

I cringe every time he pronounces Res Gestae as “Reese Jestae” it should be said like “Rez -Guest -Eye”. It is so distracting....
There are more too but that one is the most annoying and a quick google search would have shown him the right way to say it.
As far as the content it is exactly what it is supposed to be. If the subject interests you it’s perfectly fine. If your looking for an exciting novel this isn’t for you.

3 people found this helpful

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Horrific

The book and information were great, the horrific part was well get the book you'll see...

2 people found this helpful

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Whew…a tedious dissertation

One might expect the offspring of a PHd Candidate. Scholastic indeed, but oh-so-wearisome Unless you are interested in details excruciating delivered by such prefaces as “in this chapter we are going to examine…blah, blah.” Painful as being rent by Lions.

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Good overview of Roman society

While the book did give a good overview of Roman gladiatorial games, there was a lack of depth. I would have liked to known more about the gladiator themselves than just a history of the games.

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As we shall see

The work itself is informative, but a large amount of filler is present in the form of "As we shall see," "As we have seen," or variations thereof. The narrator does a decent job of holding attention, taking the necessary breaks where the text requires, though these become a bit tedious at times and could have been sped up some by speaking in a more conversational manner.

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Great narration, but nothing new

The reason for my 3/5 isn't because the narration was bad; on the contrary, it was quite good. The problem I had was that this taught me absolutely nothing that I didn't already know, and doesn't seem like the most basic of common knowledge regarding the subject.

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Dry as dust

I don’t like giving negative reviews, but for such an interesting topic, the writing was incredibly lackluster. The author obviously did his homework, but nothing in the writing or the narration grabbed my attention at all. I got my hopes up a little when Caligula came along, but very quickly he was dead and gone.

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More like a Text book

Though interesting to an extent, I was hard pressed to finish the book. The amount of information is considerable, it’s presentation is lackluster.