There is an old saying that, ‘When in Rome, do as Romans do!’ But have you ever wondered what was it that made the Romans so different and fascinating in their times?

John Malam’s Gladiator — Life and Death in Ancient Rome takes you on a journey where Rome, Romans and their favourite pastimes are discussed at length, taking you back in ancient times.

Most of the book discusses the fascinating gladiators that captivated the Romans during the times in which they lived. It features details about the history of gladiatorial contests, their origin, their end as well as the story of their rise in the Roman Empire. Unlike the movies made on them, the fate of gladiators was decided by the emperor, who took the crowd’s reaction into account.

Secondly, there were other things besides gladiatorial fights that kept the Romans entertained, including beast-fights, chariot racing and theatre.

If you didn’t know the names of the best films ever made on Romans, or how Romans studied in their youth, look no further.

This book covers everything there is to know about Romans. Not only will you find out about the clothes they wore daily, but also what made them different from the Greeks (yes, they were both very different from each other).

This book may have been written with young readers in mind but anyone who is interested in history can read it and learn a lot about the Romans. It may seem primarily as a book about gladiators but it isn’t. In fact, it is a summary of Roman culture, the things that made them great and the steps that led to their downfall.

Packed with stunning photographs, movie stills as well as a ‘Weird World’ box item throughout, this book is not only a good read but also very valuable for reference purposes. The tried-and-tested websites, the detailed ‘Reference Section’ and ‘Glossary’ takes you into the world of Romans, and you feel a part of their culture.

Gladiator — Life and Death in Ancient Rome is likely to change your views about Rome and Romans, and for the better! — Seema Faruqi

Updated Dec 22, 2012 02:58am

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