Saturday, November 28, 2015

Football players, the modern day Gladitors, by Gina Danna, Love & Vengence

Today, I hand my site over to Gina Danna
so she can discuss the many similarities of our historical sports to current sports.
Take it away, Gina!

Football or Gladiator Games?    

So two days ago was Thanksgiving. A day of feasting, drinking and…watching football (or getting ready for Black Friday sales but I digress…). Football is a rather odd sport – two teams of men punt, throw, tactical and dive to get their oblong leather ball to the opposer's end zone for a ‘touchdown.’ A sport that has 4 quarters of fifteen minutes in length can take 3 hours to complete thanks to replays, time outs and the half-time show. And lets not forget the uniforms they wear – big bulky men, padded out to protect their bodies and the helmets – hide most of the players true selves. But this is a sport that at this time of year sends many into serious phobias.

Do you watch football? Have your favorite team? And what about gladiatorial games – would you watch those?

Ancient Rome had it’s own spectacle – the gladiatorial games. Begun as an honorarium to a dead relative during the funeral festivities, the fights of two men sparring for a victory, sometimes to the death, soon took hold in Rome and its Empire and lasted for roughly 500 years! Gladiator games were expensive, like football, but the money made off the victories drove the Romans for more.

In many ways, the 2 sports are similar –

Both are played in stadiums that are of the same shape – oval with long field (or sands for Rome) that the players/gladiators perform on, with the spectators sitting around them and up high for better viewing. Actually, football stadiums are built along the design of The Colosseum in Rome.

Both involve teams. Football teams play against the other. Gladiators were groups of gladiators from a ludius, or gladiatorial school owned by the batista who bought the gladiators (mostly slaves). Sometimes these fighters fought others in their own ludius, many times their opponents were gladiators from another ludi. So many times it was ludius against ludius in a contest of champion.

Both sports had vendors that sold food and drinks during the event. Beer for football, wine for gladiator games. There were vendors outside the stadium/colosseum that sold teams merchandise. Roman vendors often had ‘trinkets’ like drawings of gladiators, vials of their blood (often thought of as magical, especially if he was a champion), etc. These men were rockstars of their age, just like football players like Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys are today.

There are referees in football; in Rome, there was the Editor who schooled the games.

There are half time shows – in football, rockstars (though sometimes we have to watch for clothing-foundation failures LOL) performing. In the Arena, executions at noon were highly entertaining, as criminals sentenced to die were killed as spectators sat in their seats, eating lunch.

Both sports wore helmets; though gladiators might have more interesting designs like a fish on top of theirs…both are padded against injury. While football chases a ‘pig’ (their ball) for scores, gladiators use gladis or swords. Football is won by the number of ‘touchdowns’ made by the ‘pig’ crossing the goal line, gladiator games are won by one man still standing with the other on his back, raising fingers to show missio, or surrender, or dead by the other fighter.

So next time you see a football game, think how gladiators fought on the same turf and the similarities of the two sports. If that doesn’t send a chill down your spine, imagine how well gladiator games would do if reintroduced today, viewable via your TV or in person. I believe the gruffness, the brutality, all built on a thread of football, would attract the nation to watch the games and surpass football’s fans.

To catch a glimpse of the future sport, come visit Marcus & Gustina in Love & Vengeance –

Love & Vengeance


Gina Danna

Rome 108 A.D., under the Emperor Trajan, is the center of the civilized world. It is a time of sophistication and decadence, a brutal world to their conquered.

Marcus, a Roman citizen sentenced to die as a gladiator, accused by his wife and brother for a crime he did not commit. Yet death eludes him and he rises to become champion of the sands. The title he does not want. He seeks revenge but his victories in the Colosseum bestow monetary rewards he can use to save a beautiful slave, Gustina, from certain death by the beasts. She gives him a taste of love in a world full of lies, betrayal and murder.

But his overwhelming desire for vengeance, for blood and the kill, brings a higher price tag – can he satisfy the demon inside him and face the truth? A truth that will kill the woman he loves?

Buy links –

Amazon: (paperback)

Author bio –

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Gina Danna has spent the better part of her life reading. History has been her love and she spent numerous hours devouring historical romance stories, dreaming of writing one of her own. Years later, after receiving undergraduate and graduate degrees in History, writing academic research papers and writing for museum programs and events, she finally found the time to write her own stories of historical romantic fiction.

Now, living in Texas, she is under the supervision of her three dogs as she writes amid a library of research books, with her only true break away is to spend time with her other life long dream – her Arabian horse – with him, her muse can play.
Twitter:  @GinaDanna1


  1. I loved this book and yep... I can see many similarities. I also notice that while women might watch these kind of sports, we don't often engage in them. We are too smart for that (unless it's on Black Friday and someone takes my veggie pealer!)

    1. Yes but Melissa there were gladiatrix - women gladiators. Not many, for sure, but they did exist....LOL

  2. Replies
    1. I'm keeping you for 3 days, so I hope your brought some leftovers with you.


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