Facebook X YouTube Instagram Pinterest NetGalley
Google Books previews are unavailable because you have chosen to turn off third party cookies for enhanced content. Visit our cookies page to review your cookie settings.

Gladiators and Beast Hunts (ePub)

Arena Sports of Ancient Rome

Ancient History > Rome & the Roman Provinces Military

By Christopher Epplett
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
File Size: 2.8 MB (.epub)
Pages: 196
Illustrations: 16 colour illustrations including reenactor photographs
ISBN: 9781473890381
Published: 16th January 2017


£4.99 Print price £19.99

You save £15.00 (75%)

Click here for help on how to download our eBooks

You'll be £4.99 closer to your next £10.00 credit when you purchase Gladiators and Beast Hunts. What's this?
Need a currency converter? Check XE.com for live rates

Other formats available Price
Gladiators and Beast Hunts Paperback Add to Basket £11.24
Gladiators and Beast Hunts Hardback Add to Basket £19.99

Gladiators and Beasthunts is a comprehensive survey of arena sports in ancient Rome, focusing upon gladiatorial combat and the beast-hunts (venationes). Whilst numerous books have already been written on arena spectacles in ancient Rome, they generally neglect the venationes, despite the fact that the beast-hunts, in which men were pitted in mortal combat against various dangerous wild animals (including lions, tigers, elephants and rhinos), were almost as popular as gladiatorial spectacles and were staged 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 will be paid to the means by which Roman spectacle organizers were able to procure the countless wild animals necessary for the staging of venationes throughout the Empire. This is a gladiator book with added bite and sure to be welcomed by scholars and general readers alike.

This was a well-researched, in-depth look at the development of gladiators arena fighting in ancient Rome. Epplett examines the different kinds of gladiators, their weapons and costumes, their possible origin in terms of Roman psychology (from using prisoners of war from different conquered areas of Rome to gladiators merely dressing in ways that remind Romans of those conquered warriors), and their place in Rome's social strata. The variety of animal fights in the arenas are also examined, along with their popularity even outstripping those of gladiator fights... the book is carefully researched and presented with scholarly thoroughness.

NetGalley, Anne Morgan

As a history of munera and venationes Christopher Epplet's book works well, and indeed, has a level of detail that is condensed into a handy volume. There is an impression that every recorded instance of a public event has been charted and considered for importance and relevance. Nonetheless the book does not dwell on every aspect of arena sports. You will learn almost nothing of the psychology of such fighting, limited coverage of social issues, architecture, and even descriptions of the established gladiator classes seem a little cursory.

Should you buy this book? There are good reasons for doing so, with the understanding this will not be the only book about gladiators you will ever need. Dr Epplett comes agonisingly close to a palm leaf of victory but in the final analysis, he recieves a missio - with some well deserved applause.

Read the full review here.


As featured by

VaeVictis, March-April 2017

About Christopher Epplett

Dr Christopher Epplett teaches ancient history at the University of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. He has a special interest in the arena spectacles and the beast hunts in particular, and has appeared on the BBC and History Channel as an expert on the subject.

More titles by Christopher Epplett

Other titles in Pen & Sword Military...