Thread Rating:
  • 1 Vote(s) - 5 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Books on Gladiators
#76
OK, I just finnished reading Dunkle's book. Excelent stuff indeed.

The book is jam-packed with detailed information regarding pretty much every aspect of gladiatorial studies. The author draws heavily from Ville's "La Gladiature en Occident des Origines a la Mort de Domitien" and from Robert's " Les Gladiateurs dans l'Orient grec". Since the book came out in late 2008 it is also the most up-to-date book on the subject, drawing info from the most significant work done on the subject do far (including Junkleman's work, Coleman's, etc).

He also descriminates pretty well between diferent practices during diferent timelines, avoiding giving the idea that everything worked the same way no matter what time period, and he also gives a good idea of how things worked in the provinces of the empire too.

This is a heavily quoted book. At times it even becomes a pain to go back a forth between end-notes and main text. But such is the price of a carefully schoolarly researched work.

There are however a few downsides. The book is not as detailed when it comes to gladiatorial equipment and it's evolution through time period, although he presents some information not present in other sources that are quite enlightening. But for more in-depth discussions of equipment you'll still need to get Shadrake's and/or Junkleman's book.
Another aspect not so well covered is the origins of gladiators. He only spends a few paragraphs on the matter. If you are interested on that particular aspect it's better to search elsewhere for a more in-depth discussion.

But as for everything else this book is very probably the best overall treatment of the subject (and the more up-to-date). He's conclusions and personal opinions are also for the most part very sane and plausible and I tend to agree with him on most aspects when there is some divergence among authors.

As conclusion, I'd say this is very probably the best general book on the subject available in english language. For the equipment and origins of gladiators just add Shadrake and/or Junkleman to the mix and you get pretty much the best of both worlds.
Pedro Pereira
Reply
#77
I got the book in the meantime as well but haven't finished it yet, to be honest I'm still very much in the beginning (since I don't take the train to work anylonger but ride the bike I lack time to read :wink: ). I agree with Gorgon that Dunkle quotes a lot from older but standard works such as Robert and Ville as well as from Junkelmann and Shadrake and Jacobina Jacobell ("Gladiators at Pompeii"). Because I do have all the other books there is actually not that much new stuff in it for me but it is interesting what seems important to him which was not that important to others.

Sometimes I think he zones out from the current topic, e.g. when describing the gladiator type murmillo he delves into the two fan groups of scutarii and parmularii. Otherwise I think some of his theories interesting e.g. that the retiarius tunicatus was a Roman citizen from the upper classes and therefore wearing a tunica because it was disgracing enough to fight as a retiarius with barely any armor at all.

Anyhow, I nonetheless look forward to continuing reading this book.
Reply
#78
Apologies for the necro post, but Google brings this thread up as the most recent one for gladiator book recommendations.

Long ago I studied Classical Civilization in college, but my recent increased interest in ancient Rome was piqued by my other interest: toys. More specifically, sixth scale figures by Kaustic Plastik (who are actually based in Rome), and ACI. The former are the more historically accurate, while ACI require some swapping of armour and weapons - hence my interest in reading to make the most probable historical interpretation.

I've just read Konstantin Nossov's Gladiator: Rome's Bloody Spectacle (Osprey, 2009) and found it very readable, while being scholarly and balanced with regards to interpretations of the archaeological evidence.

Unsurprisingly, Nossov makes several references to Junkelmann.

For those that have read both Junkelmann's 2000 and 2008 editions of Das Spiel mit dem Tod, does the later version include all the images reproduced in the earlier one?

Going by the short review here, it seems to be well stocked:

Quote:270 pages with 284 color, 153 black-and-white photos and 34 sketches


I finally got a copy of Wisdom and McBride's Gladiators 100 BC - 200 AD (Osprey, 2001), and was surprised at the errors in the pictures, (something already noted in this thread), especially considering this book has probably been one of the most well-known and most accessible for gladiator imagery over the last decade.

Thraex and hoplomachus without upper leg padding; secutor with a pair of ocreae; provocator vs. hoplomachus; provocator with very short ocrea.

Finally getting round to reading Wisdom/McBride was a bit disappointing after Nossov!


[sub]Off-topic, but great to see that Graham Sumner is a member here. I'm collecting 1/6 Roman soldiers as well, and Graham's Roman Military Dress (2009) was a very informative book in that regard![/sub]
Reply
#79
Not having read Dunkle, I consider Nossov the best English language book on the topic.
The Osprey from Wisdom and McBride is riddled with errors, and though I love McBrides artwork he tended to include artistsic freedom in his works.
The 2008 Junkelmann includes everything from the 2000 edition with the additions presented as an appendix.
Olaf Küppers - Histotainment, Event und Promotion - Germany
Reply
#80
Quote:The 2008 Junkelmann includes everything from the 2000 edition with the additions presented as an appendix.

Thanks for that.

I've gone ahead and ordered a copy from an Amazon seller.
Reply
#81
In English I still think that the Shadrake book is still the best, I neither liked Dunkle nor Nossov as much as Shadrake. Nossov had some little information on gladiators in the East which were not mentioned elsewhere but that was it.

I just purchased during my vacation in Spain a book in Spanish though, which just came out this year. It's called:

"Gladiadores - El gran espectáculo de Roma"
by Alfonso Manas

Of course I immediately started reading it and it seems to be very interesting though concerning the nomenclature and description of the armaturae he has some strange theories. I will keep you informed...
Reply
#82
Quote:In English I still think that the Shadrake book is still the best, I neither liked Dunkle nor Nossov as much as Shadrake. Nossov had some little information on gladiators in the East which were not mentioned elsewhere but that was it.

I just purchased during my vacation in Spain a book in Spanish though, which just came out this year. It's called:

"Gladiadores - El gran espectáculo de Roma"
by Alfonso Manas

Of course I immediately started reading it and it seems to be very interesting though concerning the nomenclature and description of the armaturae he has some strange theories. I will keep you informed...

So you read French, German, English and now Spanish :o ....you put my English and schoolboy French to shame!
Conal Moran

Do or do not, there is no try!
Yoda
Reply
#83
Also add Italian, I've read the book by Dario Battaglia.

In the meantime I finished the Spanish book, overall it is good, but some ideas are strange. The author writes lenghty about the Halicarnassos relief which I appreciate but his theories on the hairdo of the gladiatrices shown is a bit awkward. Also he mentions that the murmillo fought with a spatha!

I just started reading Garrett G. Fagan "The Lure of the Arena" which is on the social psychological aspect of the games.
Reply
#84
Svenja

How was the Lure of the Arena.?
Conal Moran

Do or do not, there is no try!
Yoda
Reply
#85
The book was interesting since it dealt not only with the Ancient spectacula but compared the behavior of the ancient audience to medieval or modern audiences when they watch violent presentations e.g. executions. It was focusing on the audience not on the gladiators or others being active in the arena. And it would be definitely not the book for someone new to the topic but for those who do indepth research on the arena spectacles.
Reply
#86
Anyone read this one? Just ordered it. The author did his PhD on venationes 15 years ago or so. The author seems to try to cover these in some detail (within the limitations of a "popular" book on the subject).

Gladiators and Beasthunts: Arena Sports of Ancient Rome, Epplett, Christopher.
Pedro Pereira
Reply


Forum Jump: