Maximus ~ Gladiator
"What we do in life, echoes in eternity."

Strength And Honor .


In loving memory, this page is dedicated to:
Robert Oliver Reed  - A Great British Actor
13 February 1938-2 May 1999

He died of a massive heart attack on location for "The Gladiator"
in Malta.
He dropped dead after knocking back 10 pints of ale and
12 shots of rum.
He was  brilliant, relentlessly fearless, hell raising
 and at all times honorable.
He is missed. His legacy of work
 will live on.

International cast of "Gladiator":

Russell Crowe (Maximus)
New Zealand/Australia, Aries.
Richard Harris (Marcus Aurelius)
Limerick, Ireland, Libra.

Oliver Reed (Proximo)
 Wimbledon, England, Aquarius.

Joaquin Phoenix (Commodus)
 Puerto Rico, Scorpio.

Djimon Hounsou (Juba) Benin,
West Africa, Taurus.

Connie Nielsen (Lucilla) Elling, Denmark.


Gladiator is one of the greatest movies ever made and has an outstanding cast of the finest actors in the world.
The score is also exceptionally powerful, haunting and beautiful. Shot on location in Farnham, England,
 Ouarzazate, Morocco and Malta, the characters in the film are based on real people you can read about below.
The story itself teaches us values that still hold true today and serve to remind us that everything is possible
if you keep them inside your heart and your mind:  Love, Strength, Honor.

There is no history on "Maximus" because his character was invented by Hollywood. However, it was not
uncommon to choose the general in office to take command of Rome if there was no-one else appropriate.

Marcus Aurelius
Emperor A.D 161 - 180

The study of philosophy and other scholarly pursuits were the things that Marcus Aurelius loved most of all,
but it was his lot to spend most of his reign fighting barbarians far from the city of Rome. The hardships of
living in an army camp did not stop him from writing, though. His Meditations have survived and are popular
amongst those who study the Stoic philosophers. The Meditations also sheds some light on these last years
  of the period of peace and prosperity that came to a close with the death of Marcus Aurelius in A.D.180.

 During his reign, increased attacks by barbarians along the northern borders, especially on the Danube River,
 threatened the stability of the empire and caused a constant financial drain on the treasury. To add to these
misfortunes, soldiers returning from the wars brought with them a new and disastrous plague. As a result,
the death toll in many provinces of the empire was high. Instead of choosing a capable administrator or
 army general like the emperors before him, Marcus Aurelius elected to pass the empire on to his spoiled 
son, Commodus. This is probably the only thing historians can fault him for, as Marcus Aurelius had
served as a faithful protector  of the Roman people and empire all of his reign. The choice of Commodus 
was unfortunate as the long period of misrule and civil war that followed the reign of Marcus Aurelius
was to prove so dramatically.


The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius - Powerful life guidance from a man
who deeply cared about the poor, the enslaved and the imprisoned.

"....true wisdom resides in every man's heart and mind
and transcends the boundaries of time, place, ethnicity and doctrine."



Lucius Verus

Co Emperor with Marcus Aurelius A.D 161 - 169

Lucius Verus was the son of Hadrian's adopted heir, Aelius Caesar and was only eight years old
when his father died. When Hadrian adopted Antoninus Pius as his heir to the throne, part of
 the agreement was that Antoninus would adopt Lucius Verus as well as Marcus Aurelius.
When Marcus Aurelius became emperor upon the death of Antoninus Pius, Verus became his
co-emperor. Lucius Verus married Marcus Aurelius' fifteen year old daughter in 164 A.D., which
strengthened the family ties even further.

Lucius Verus is remembered for being a fairly successful military conqueror and hero. He conquered
both Armenia and Medea, and even invaded the Parthian capital of Ctesiphon at a time when Parthia
was one of Rome's greatest rivals. It was during the reign of Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus that
the plague was brought back to Rome from the East by one of the returning armies.
Many citizens died in the tragic epidemic.



 Commodus and Maximus.


Emperor A.D 180 - 192

It is unfortunate that the emperor Marcus Aurelius did not choose to adopt a capable man as his son
to succeed him on the throne. He chose instead Commodus, the spoiled son of Aurelius and his wife,
Faustina the Younger. The young Commodus was more fond of performing in the arena and drinking
 wine with his friends than governing the huge Roman Empire. It was a time when the empire very much
needed a strong ruler to lead the armies against the ever increasing barbarian invasions from the North.

Commodus loved to hunt wild animals and was very good at killing an animal with the first arrow. When he
 decided to display his talents by performing in the arena at public games, he shocked and scandalized the
Roman people. The arena was the place for criminals, condemned prisoners of war, and professional gladiators
(considered a rather seedy, lower class occupation). Commodus enjoyed shocking the Roman people and making 
a spectacle of himself this way. He came to crave the attention so much that he started calling himself 
"The Roman Hercules "and kept a replica of Hercules' club and the Nemeian lion's skin beside his throne!

After plots against his life were discovered, Commodus began a reign of terror.
He would frequently pay false accusers to bring treason charges against powerful senators, whom he then 
 had condemned to death. Commodus would enrich himself with the dead person's property.  The accusers, 
of course, were given a generous reward out of the confiscated property of the innocent man whom they 
had betrayed. When two women in CommodusÕ household, his wife Crispina and his sister Lucilla were 
accused  of hatching a plot to murder him, Commodus had the two ladies banished to a lonely prison on an 
island. He later had them murdered. A group of senators who feared for their own lives were also involved 
in the plot.

The insane Commodus kept stepping up his campaign of murder and terror until even those closest to
him in the palace began to fear for their lives. His mistress, Marcia, and two other of his ministers,
Laetushis  praetorian Prefect and Eclectus, his chamberlain, plotted together to do away with the
mad emperor. Marcia prepared a cup of poisoned wine and presented it to him after he had spent an
exhausting day hunting. Evidently, the poison was not potent enough and Commodus was heavily
drugged, but not killed. The conspirators decided to finish the job by asking one of his athlete friends,
a strong young wrestler, named Narcissus, to strangle him to death.

Commodus died on New Year's Eve, A. D. 192. He was to be proclaimed a consul on the following day,
and planned to accept the greatest honor of the republic dressed as a gladiator. Doubtless, the Senate
was relieved that they would be spared the indignity of having to witness this farce.

Copyright 1997 by Jay King.


Gladiator won Best Film and Best Soundtrack Golden Globes, and Five Oscars:
Best Film, Actor, Visual Effects, Costumes and Sound.

"Really folks, I owe this to one bloke, and his name is Ridley Scott",
Russell Crowe said of his director.

"If you grow up ... in the suburbs of anywhere, a dream like this
seems kind of vaguely ludicrous and completely unattainable,
this moment is directly connected to those childhood imaginings.
And for anybody who's on the downside of advantage,
and relying purely on courage, it's possible.''

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