Roman empire (Germania, Africa, Rome)

Gladiator takes girlfriend on an all-expenses paid tourism of the finest sights of the roman Empire.

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Okay, that"s a finish lie. No package holidays would show you glorious sights prefer "slavery ring in northern Africa" or "burned corpses in Spain." (Thank goodness.)

But the being said, we do obtain a look-see at just how substantial the Roman empire was. End the course of this two and a half hour film we travel from Germania (a substantial parcel of soil that has many contemporary day countries, prefer Germany, Austria, components of Belgium, Switzerland, and also others), to Africa, and, finally, come Rome.

And all of these settings were once part of the roman Empire. (Source)

The film"s factors for taking united state to every these places, however, aren"t merely academic or documentary. These areas are every richly, deeply, profoundly symbolic.

Here"s why.


The film opens up somewhere in Germania. Comment by the personalities later in the movie (Cicero to Lucilla, "I offered your dad at Vindebona") suggest that these scenes take ar somewhere near, well, Vindebona—the city that would eventually come to be Vienna, Austria.

Things are an extremely dark in Germania…for because that a lot of reasons. The charcoal color of the scenes in Germania—symbolically indicates exactly how the Romans viewed the world outside the Empire. When talking about the rest of the world, Maximus states to Marcus Aurelius,

MAXIMUS: it is brutal and also cruel and also dark. Rome is the light.

It doesn"t help that Mr. Lead Germanic barbarian throws the severed head that the roman negotiator earlier towards the Romans near the start of the film"s first big activity sequence. Who else would carry out that except a "brutal and cruel" barbarian lord?

There"s a bit an ext to the story, however. The darkness of every the scenes that take location in Germania set the tone of the whole film. Any way you part it, Gladiator"s a tragedy. It"s Maximus" tragedy, and also his project as the hero is to endure enormous tragedies (the killing of his mentor and also friend, the brutal execution the his family, the execution that his close girlfriend Cicero, a life of slavery) and, ultimately, ruin the source of those calamities.

The colour in this first, Germania-set scenes do it clear: this is a dark film.


After burying his dead family, Maximus"s choose up by a slave caravan indigenous his house in Spain and also carried to Africa. The movie calls this location the Zucchabar Province, i beg your pardon in roman inn times remained in what is now Algeria.

(Technically, the district was referred to as Mauretania Caesariensis, but the producer were more than likely right come leave that out and roll with Zucchabar—it sounds cooler, and it"s much easier to placed on the screen.)

What far better place because that a man who has actually lost everything to go than a location that looks choose it"s likewise lost everything? Zucchabar is shown as being pretty lot a wasteland v a water source. The looks hot, sandy, and rough.

It"s clear the gladiatorial combat"s still enabled there…and the gladiatorial combat isn"t permitted in Rome until Commodus reinstates it. We an initial meet Proximo in Zucchabar due to the fact that the totality gladiator-entertainer market was shut down in Rome, and also he, and also others choose him who lost their means of income, had actually to go to the provinces.

In fact, anyone in Zucchabar has actually lost something: Maximus has actually lost his family, his career, and also his friend Marcus Aurelius; Proximo has actually lost his career as an entertainer in Rome; Juba and also Hagen have lost your freedom. All of these lives have actually metaphorically end up being desert wastelands…which is why they end up in a literal desert wasteland.


While we see Rome prior to Proximo take away Maximus there, the city yes, really doesn"t assume its symbolic richness till Maximus arrives. That renders sense. It"s Maximus" movie, ~ all.

And Rome is both the facility of the Empire, and, in a most ways, the center of the film. The final conflict between Maximus and Commodus takes place there, and Marcus Aurelius" last wishes are at some point realized there (when Maximus loss Commodus and also communicates them to Quintus and also those assembled). Maximus both die in Rome, and ultimately saves it by his death.

So, what deserve to we say about Rome? even though that is, technically, the many "civilized" setup in the poem (complete with vast markets, an exceptionally food supply, and also stunning architecture), it is likewise the most uncivilized. The many brutal gladiatorial combats take location here, and also it"s here that the sinister, evil, plotting Commodus manages his regime of the terror.

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Rome itself, much more than anything else in the film, is a setting of irony. There"s fighting in Germania, yet its fighting against the emigration of the Roman realm (so it renders sense indigenous the view of the Germanians). There are gladiator gamings in Zucchabar, yet for the most part Zucchabar is a place where human being get along.

In Rome, it"s the opposite. In spite of the "peace" in the empire mentioned in the film"s opened blurb, Rome itself is divided. Commodus and the Senators room locked in a cold war, complete with politicking and espionage. Lucilla must ward off she brother"s incestuous advances. Commodus himself has actually an uneasy relationship with the citizenry.

Sure, Rome"s a big, well-managed, and also stunning testament to human accomplishment (check the end the great digital recreations of the Colosseum and the Senate), however it"s also a really dangerous—and very conflicted—place.