1. Ryan Hoobin

    Ryan Hoobin New Member

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    Roman Gladiator Slave "Barracks"

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Ryan Hoobin, Jan 7, 2019.

    I need a setting for my novel. Basically a ten year old orphan sold into slavery becomes a gladiator in Rome under a cruel, pasty, unjust and harsh Emperor. I COULD just use the actual Coliseum and its surrounding area, or I could make something new. I have envisioned a cramped and sandy and dirty area before entering the Coliseum, but I also was thinking of a cramped living quarters and the child getting punished for leaving and exploring and training in the fields. Thoughts?

    -Ryan
     
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  2. Ryan Hoobin

    Ryan Hoobin New Member

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    If anyone needs help on their own books, just PM me and I'll do my best!
     
  3. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    I think you need to do lots of research. Fortunately a lot of it is available online these days. Just see what you can do to immerse yourself in 'Rome.' You could do worse than watch the wonderful TV series "Rome," starring Kevin McKidd, etc, which was made a little while back, and set during the time of Julius Caesar and Caesar Augustus. You could also read our forum member's @Lew McIntyre's excellent historical novel The Eagle and the Dragon, which is set initially in Rome during the time of Emperor Trajan—although the characters don't spend a lot of time in Rome itself.

    As far as what life was like in slave 'barracks,' in the Colosseum, etc, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colosseum you'll just need to do research. The more research you do, the more interesting ideas you'll come up with. Not only where to set your story, but how people actually lived and what they did, etc. Research doesn't narrow your possibilities, it expands them.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavery_in_ancient_Rome

    There are many periods of Roman history to explore. The Empire was vast, with many places available for authors to set a story.

    Some Emperors were around for a while, but most of them came and went pretty quickly, after the Republic ended (with Julius Caesar) and the Emperors began. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_emperor

    Remember: Google is your friend! I guarantee if you check those three links I sent you and read them, you will walk away with more ideas than you had before you began. If you want to write historical fiction, then research has to be part of what you do beforehand. And don't be scared of it. It's fun! If you don't want to do research, then you can always write fantasy, but I suspect the perspectives you get while doing research would make even a fantasy story richer and less like a cliché. Even if you want to write fantasy, I would still take the time to do research in the areas related to your fantasy.

    I'm fond of reading about Rome as a historical fiction subject. I've read nearly all of Simon Scarrow's Cato and Macro series, although these stories mostly take place in parts of the Empire that are removed from Rome, and they concern themselves with soldier stories more than anything else. I also just finished reading Robert Harris's series about Cicero, and his EXCELLENT stand-alone novel called Pompeii.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2019
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  4. DK3654

    DK3654 Almost a Productive Member of Society Contributor

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    Why do you wanna know, huh?
    One thing to note is that the gladiators did not have it as bad as sometimes depicted. They didn't actually die that often- good gladiators were valuable, living conditions weren't bad, and they could become quite successful and popular, even earning extra money through advertisement deals like a modern athlete. Dramatic public executions would also sometimes take place in the arena though, and those of course involved death.
     
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  5. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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  6. Ryan Hoobin

    Ryan Hoobin New Member

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    THANK YOU! Everyone else provided great information, but that's perfect! As my character, Nikomedes, gets better, he'll be alienated from his fellow gladiators, his only 'friends'. YESSSS!
     
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  7. J.D. Ray

    J.D. Ray Member Supporter Contributor

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    If it helps, there's a Roman-era colosseum in Arles, France. Maybe a smaller town, away from the political turmoil of Rome, would be a good setting.
     

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