Who Were The Roman Gladiators?

The gladiators

It’s a hot day. Two men are waiting at the gates of the arena dressed in battle gear, ready for their fight to start. Sweat is flowing down their cheeks and their breathing is becoming heavy. This might be their last day alive.

Yet these men are professionals. Training has prepared them for this day and they know what needs to be done. They stand proud and determined, wiping all doubts from their mind and instead refocusing their thoughts on the task ahead.

Each one has the same thought flowing through his mind. No, this will not be his last day. He will go on to score a huge victory and be celebrated by the crowds, going on to become a real sports superstar. Each one of them knows that they are the best, yet there can be only one winner. One of these will leave the arena a victor, while the other one will be the defeated…

Each one of them will do everything in his power in order to remain the one standing up, to be the victor. There is no other way. They are Roman gladiators and that is their way of life.

Gladiatorial fights were all the rage in Ancient Rome. They were the equivalent of today’s Super Bowl in magnitude and popularity, with one huge exception: some of the contestants would probably not make it through the day alive.

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Ancient Rome was a martial culture and any type of sport where the contestants aren’t risking their lives was a pussy sport. That’s why athletics, which were very popular in the Ancient Greek city states, never became very popular in Rome. The Ancient Romans thought athletics were not something real men should compete in, because there was no risk in them. They might use similar methods of training originally developed for athletics to train, but athletics were for the pussies, real men wanted to see sweat and blood and feel death knocking at the door.

Many gladiators started off as lowly slaves, purchased on the market or captured in war, but went on to rise to become veritable superstars with fans cheering their name and women throwing themselves at them. They went on to enjoy lavish lifestyles just like the sports superstars of today.

However for the majority of gladiators this was not the case. Many of them died during their fight in the arena or suffered crippling injuries and lived out the rest of their lives as cripples. Gladiatorial fights were high risk, high reward contests.

Reflections on the role and popularity of gladiatorial fights in Roman society

Gladiatorial fights were the epitomy of Ancient Roman society. They demonstrated the ideal values that were held dear: valor, strength, bravery, cunning, discipline and above all risk. These were the individual traits valued in what was a very martial society. Rome was built by war and martial values were what was supposed to define Roman society.

The gladiatorial games exploded in popularity, when Rome had grown very far beyond its original borders. The very dominance of Rome in the ancient world at that time was the instigator for the growth in popularity of gladiators. Originally Rome was a small city-state and all male citizens were required to protect it. So in times of need basically all males had to go on military duty. During these times, most male Roman citizens experienced combat first hand.

However as Rome grew and conquered lands far and wide, less and less of its inhabitants directly participated in war. The empire of Rome also brought in more and more new subjects and these needed to be exposed to Roman culture and in that way “romanized”.

It is at exactly this time, when we see the importance and popularity of gladiatorial games grow and expand into all parts of the lands that Rome brought under its control. The games were sports, spectator sports, but they served not only as entertainment, very bloody entertainment, but as a way to remind the masses of their martial spirit and the original values of Rome.
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Personality Types: Why Are You The Way You Are? Part 2

Meta-programs are something that drives the way people behave in the real world. Oftentimes the outward manifestations of these meta-programs are what people describe as “personality”. Traditionally, personality is thought of as being unchanging and if you are born with a certain type of personality, then you are stuck with it.

In psychology, the theory that personality is unchanging resulted in different types of models such as the Myers-Briggs model and other similar models. According to these models, personality is fixed and people can be fit into categories based on their personality traits.

However neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) takes a different approach. Instead of types, NLP uses meta-programs. These are the predominant behavioral patterns. They are not fixed, but can be changed with a certain effort. People even adopt different patterns in different situations.

In Part 1 on meta-programs, there was a general overview and a description of two basic meta-programs. Here we will delve into four more.

3) in-time or through-time or between-time

Different people perceive time differently and this leads them to behave differently too. A basic distinction is in-time or through-time. These basically describe a person’s approach to activities having a time aspect.

People can represent the flow of time as different paths or lines in space. That reflects how they experience time. They have different timelines and plot them in their mind differently. Timelines are largely about visualization and picturing things in your mind. You can plot events from the past or future at different places on the timeline and this has an effect on how you experience and think about them.

In-time people live in the moment and for the moment. They are not too worried about the future and devote their full attention to what they are doing now. They are not too worried whether they will arrive late for a meeting or similar things. They often arrive late and don’t see anything wrong with it.

It is very hard for in-time people to plan ahead or even look at the past in an objective way. They also have a very hard time estimating how much time it will take for them to achieve something.

Many in-time people see events through their own eyes and can have an internal feeling of the past and present being both as now.

This is an individual trait, but can also be a cultural trait as well. For example certain cultures tend to be more in-time, for example the Spanish. In Spain, for most people, time has no meaning and if you set up an appointment, most will come late. They live for the “fiesta”.

Through-time people are the opposite of that. For them planning is important and so is organization. They are much better at planning and organizing their actions. They like to analyze things and often give off the impression that they are not absorbed in the activity taking place.

Another trait of through-time people is that they are punctual and realize the importance of time. They see events as flowing in front of them and therefore can often disassociate themselves from them. They know that time passes and that things interact with each other and that actions are connected to each other. One action can have repercussions at other points in time.

These two different ways of viewing time and reacting to its flow have severe repercussions on people’s behaviors. You can often tell pretty easily which people are in-time and which are more through-time. There are certain expressions that give it away. For example in-time people often use buzzwords like “live for the moment” and often talk about the “now” and “feeling”.

On the other hand, the speech of through-time people reflects the importance that they give to the passage of time. They often use time related phrases such as “next time” or “in the future”.

In-time people often react badly at traditional time management techniques. Through-time people on the other hand are often very good at time management.

This has repercussions on planning and following a plan through. It will be much easier for a through-time person to plan out goals and then set out a course of action to achieve them. So in this, it is better to have a through-time mindset, however an in-time person might enjoy the experience of being in the gym more.

As stated before, there is no “better” meta-program. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages and is better for certain situations over others. It is also perfectly possible to adopt one meta-program in one situation and another one in another situation. However for drafting goals and then achieving them, the through-time meta-program is the one that is the one that achieves results.
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Kick-Ass Tunes To Pump You Up

I don’t know what it is with music, but it has a very interesting effect on your emotions. Some songs can uplift you, some others can make you feel down, some can make you think, and some have the effect of pumping you up. I often listen to songs to try to pump myself up. Youtube is an amazing resource for these types of songs (80s edition 🙂 ).

Here are some of my favorites:

What are yours?
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Get Some True Love! Be A Dog Owner

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You know who will always love you in sickness and in health? Think about it! Wait for it…wait for it… A dog! 🙂

A dog is always happy to see you. When you come home from work, cranky and miserable, the dog is always there to greet you, really happy that you are back. The dog will be wagging its tail, jumping up and down and squealing in sounds of joy. Sure, they might bring over the ball for you to throw as well, but the dog will always be there when you come.

Whether you own a small dog or a big dog, or something in between, the dog always loves its owner. Even if the owner mistreats the dog (how dare you!), the dog is still attached to its owner and shows him love.

You might be feeling down, the dog will come and try to comfort you. They will cuddle next to you and start licking you. The feelings from the dog are true, not pretend. Dogs can lie all day waiting for their owner to return and when they do, they will be ecstatic with joy.

There is a special bond between the dog and its owner. The dog knows that it belongs and wants to show its affection. You are the leader of its pack and the dog acknowledges it. Instead of feeling resentful, he only feels love for you.

If you are feeling unloved, unappreaciated or forgotten, get a dog. Sure it’s hard work and a dog requires dedication, but you are guaranteed 100% love. A dog is like a member of your family, one that loves and adores you dearly. Love your dog, take care of your dog, it will love you back.

This is for all the dogs out there! 🙂

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Get Females By Giving Them Meat

chimp behavior

chimp behavior
Yeah you heard that right. The most efficient way to get females is to give them meat. You give meat, you get sex, it’s that simple. At least that’s what the scientific evidence says for one particular group of individuals that live in the forests of Africa: chimpanzees. 😛

“Males observed in the West African nation of Ivory Coast shared monkey meat with females that exhibited the pink swellings on their rear ends that indicate ovulation and sexual availability. More surprising was that males shared meat with females that didn’t have sexual swellings, perhaps in hopes of future success, the researchers say. The sex “may not necessarily occur immediately—it could occur sometime in the future,” said study co-author Cristina M. Gomes, a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany.” quote: National Geographic

So you see here, our primate cousins, the chimpanzees figured out that the best way to get it on is to go hunt, get some meat, and then share it with females, who will then thank for it by doing it like they do it on the Discovery Channel.

Maybe that’s where the tradition of guys inviting girls out for dinner or buying them drinks developed from. Men are digging deep down into their genetic memory and using tried and tested strategies from way back in prehistoric times. 🙂 Too bad those don’t seem to work anymore.

However, there are some who dispute this theory. Other scientists did some research and found no correlation.

“They found no evidence for immediate meat-for-sex trades, nor did they find that males who shared more meat got more sex.“One explanation for this discrepancy could be the cost of short-term exchanges”, Gomes says. Males who hunt risk ceding their access to oestrous females to other chimpanzees. Long-term exchanges could be a way of gaining the benefits of meat for sex, without taking such risks.” quote: New Scientist

Well, I think both things might be true. Some chimp males try to play the gentleman by going hunting and sharing their meat with others, while the females don’t always appreciate this. While these chimps are out hunting, there are probably some leecher chimps who try smooth talk the female chimps into giving it up. With many females it probably works.

This is not that different from the human world. It is unfortunately not a rare occurrence that a guy who has been working hard all day, comes back home and finds his wife in bed with another guy, most likely some unemployed smooth talker. 🙂

It’s fascinating how many parallels there are between humans and the animal world, and especially our closest cousins, the primates. So based on these similarities, scientists try to find out more about human behavior by studying apes and monkeys.
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We Are Back And A Change Of Direction

weight gain with beer

weight gain with beer
Sorry for the delay in posting. I made a mistake on my hosting account and ended up somehow erasing my entire blog, so that’s why you couldn’t access it for a week. However now we are back! 🙂

I have also been thinking about the direction of this blog. The main aim from the start has been to help hardgainers with gaining weight, however I have been slowly expanding it to other fitness and lifestyle topics.

After some thinking, I have decided to expand it further to other topics as well, in fact to make it a bit more personal. While I love fitness, there are also some other things that I am working on and can share my advice and opinions on. These include travelling and language learning and so I would like to expand the blog to include these topics as well.

Not sure if this the right course of action, however I have to say that I have not been getting the traffic that I envisioned. One advice that I read on the internet is to make a blog more personal in order to widen its appeal. I think I have a unique point of view and a mix of experiences, something that could inspire others.

I will keep the domain name of the blog the same and the core topics will still be covered in depth, I will just add a few more topics. This might turn off some readers who are not interested in those topics, but I believe that even they will still find a wealth of information on here. I will still continue to cover fitness and especially continue to give tips on how to gain weight and lean muscle.

I have kept a language learning blog that I infrequently updated. The main purpose of that blog was to share some short stories and especially different language learning resources that I came across. I will keep that blog as a way to share resources, however different stories and reflections on learning languages will shift to this blog. Not sure how exactly I will determine what will appear on this blog and what on the other one, but I will try and see what works.

Hopefully this new direction will be interesting to my readers and help them get inspired to apply some of these things to their own lives.
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Keep It Simple 2

how to gain weight, keep it simple, bulk up, gain muscle, fast, bulk up, healthy

how to gain weight, keep it simple, bulk up, gain muscle, fast, bulk up, healthy
Here is the second installment of Keep It Simple. In this post, I will be giving short summaries of some of the articles I had posted previously, together with the key lessons from each article.

Nutrition:

There is a lot of controversy in the field of nutrition on what type of a diet you should have and what you should eat. Recently there has been a rise in many types of fad diets promoted by different gurus. You do not need to follow any of these diets to be healthy, but should be mindful of what you eat. There are a few basic principles to keep in mind when choosing what to eat. The keyword behind all these principles is balance.

I did 3 articles on the three main macronutrient types that you need to eat and several other articles looking into related topics. These articles summarize all the basic things that you should know about your diet and can help you in forming your own eating strategy. This strategy will depend heavily on what your goals are.

What are carbohydrates?
For most people, carbohydrates form the largest part of their diet. Their primary role is to deliver energy to the body. This energy is delivered primarily in the form of glucose, which is the basic fuel for the human body. It can come in its simple form, delivered as a simple sugar and thereby getting released into the bloodstream really quickly, or it can come in its more complex form, for example as a starch (chains of glucose branched together). This glucose is either used up by the body to fuel its functioning or it is stored as glycogen. Glycogen storage is rather limited however, and so excess glucose often gets stored as fat. Carbohydrates have recently become a bogeyman, and have replaced fats as supposedly the main culprit behind the obesity epidemic in the Western world. This has given rise to a number of low-carb diets such as Paleo or Atkins. However, these types of diets have often been criticized by different people, stating that they are based on bad premises and carbohydrates are not the bogeyman that it is often portrayed as.

Key Lessons: Carbohydrates are an essential part of the diet and should be eaten. The amount of carbohydrates and when they should be eaten depends on what your goals are (lose weight, gain weight) and your activity levels (for example long exercise and long-distance running). So if you are trying to gain weight, having a large number of carbohydrates in your diet may help you. Good sources of carbohydrates for someone trying to gain weight are brown rice and sweet potatoes. On the other hand, for someone trying to lose weight, you might try to cut down on the amount of carbohydrates. The strategy once again is different for active people. Carbohydrates are basically the fuel for the body and so for active people who do long and demanding exercise or activities (such as long distance running), they might need to also take in more carbohydrates, before, during and after exercise.

What is protein?
Proteins serve as the building blocks for your body. The amino acids that they contain are recomposed and then incorporated in many bodily structures, for example muscles are made of protein. That’s why if you want to build muscle, you need to ingest protein. Some of the amino acids that make up different types of proteins are called essential amino acids. This means that your body can’t manufacture them and needs to ingest them from the outside through food.

Key Lessons: As proteins are the building blocks of muscles, your diet needs to have a significant amount of protein in it, in order to be able to make muscles grow. You especially need to make sure to provide your body with the essential amino acids, because it can’t manufacture them by itself.

The different types of protein supplements
While the majority of the proteins you ingest should come in the form of normal foods, there are some supplements that can be used to supplement your protein intake. This is to make sure that you have enough protein in order to build muscle, especially after a workout. There are different types of protein supplements, for example egg protein or soy protein, however the most important protein supplements come from cow’s milk. The two main types are whey protein and casein protein. These are sold in powder form and can be mixed with milk or water to create a liquid which you can drink. Whey protein is absorbed by the body fast, while casein protein is absorbed slowly.

Key Lessons: Since whey protein is a fast absorbing protein, you should take it straight after working out. That way you supply your body with building blocks needed to build muscles. Casein protein is a slow absorbing protein and the best time to take it is before going to bed. That way it can release those amino acids during the night and help you grow bigger.

What is fat?
Fats are the third major macronutrient needed by your body. It is a much maligned nutrient, however it plays very vital roles in many bodily functions. Fats are very important, especially because of the fact that they contain some essential fatty acids, which your body cannot produce and which need to be obtained from the outside. Some very well-known fatty acids are omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Fats can be divided into saturated fats and unsaturated fats. Traditionally saturated fat has been considered an unhealthy fat, while unsaturated fat is considered healthy, but recently more and more people are stating that saturated fat should be an important part of your diet. There are some fats that are considered very unhealthy and those are trans-fats.

Key Lessons: Fats are an important part of any diet. They are especially important if you want to gain weight. They should compose around 20-30% of your diet. However don’t gobble down any type of fat. Try to eat “healthy” fats from natural sources such as fish oil or avocados. These are sources of essential fats and have positive benefits for your body and health.

The omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids imbalance in our diets
Omega-6 and omega-3 are a types of fatty acids, the building blocks of fats. They are both very important for our bodies and are considered essential. However due to the rise of the modern diet, there is a huge imbalance between the amount of omega-6 fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids. Sometimes the ratio is 10:1 or even 20:1 in favor of omega-6. This can have a lot of negative effects on our bodies. There is a bit of a controversy on how important this ratio is, with some arguing that it is very important and needs to be addressed, while others don’t give the ratio much importance. What everyone does agree on is the fact that omega-3 fatty acids are very important and need to be eaten. The main sources are seafood, fish and marine algae. You can also supplement it by taking fish oil supplements.

Key Lessons: You need to make sure to include a lot of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet in order to be more healthy. You should also cut down on eating too many processed foods.
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Honor, Morality And Selfishness: What The Game Of Thrones Teaches Us About The Real World

The Game of Thrones has been one of the most watched series of the last few years. I am a late comer onto the GoT bandwagon, having only started to watch the show midway into the second season, but I got hooked. The series has an engaging storyline and beautiful landscapes. It is set in the mythical lands of Westeros and Essos and follows the lives of multiple characters as they struggle to survive in this treacherous world. The story is fantasy and contains elements of magic, but it does explore many themes very relevant to our own world and lives. If you have not watched the series, then read no further, as a spoiler alert is in effect! 🙂

game of thrones lessons

The classic fantasy series (or any type of series actually) has the basic storyline of the main character (usually a hunky hero, but sometimes a loveable loser) battling many enemies and facing many pitfalls, but managing to overcome all the obstacles thrown at him to come out victorious. The bad guys are vanquished and everyone lives happily ever after. The Game of Thrones is not this type of story. Instead it explores much darker themes and has a much more sinister outlook on life. This makes it a much more realistic story and a very powerful commentary on human relations and things like honor, morality, selfishness and what it takes to succeed in this world. The different unexpected twists and turns of the storyline make us reflect on the nature of the world around us and its reality.

The story starts off by introducing Lord Eddard Stark, the Lord of the North. He is the head of the Stark family, who have ruled the lands named as “the North” for millennia. He is a strong warrior, a wise ruler and an honorable man. He does what is honorable and also what is his duty. This sense of honor and duty is what drives him and oftentimes the series portrays it as being old-school even for those times, as it is a code followed by fewer and fewer people. It seems that Eddard Stark or his family will be the heroes of the story, the righteous vanquishing the evil. Lord Stark has 5 legitimate children and one illegitimate son. Robb Stark is his oldest legitimate son and the heir to the lordship of the North. He tries to follow in his father’s footsteps and learn from his example. There are also other members of the Stark family, for example his wife Catelyn Stark and their other sons and daughters. He does have an illegitimate son as well. However that is a source of shame for him, as he considers adultery a bad thing. Yet he did succumb to the temptation, but deeply regrets it. A son was born of this and Eddard manned up to his mistake and raised the boy with his other children.

The story continues by King Robert Baratheon travelling to the capital city of the North, Winterfell, to try to persuade Eddard to become the Hand of the King, the king’s most senior adviser and basically the second most powerful position in the entire Kingdom. This is after the sudden and mysterious death of the previous Hand of the King, Jon Arryn, Eddard’s brother in law. Robert Baratheon and Eddard Stark are old comrades and friends, who fought together to depose the evil king, Aerys II Targaryen. The Targaryen’s were the old ruling dynasty of Westeros. Their ancestor, King Aegon I, originally from the lands of Valyria in the east, came over to Westeros and with the aid of 3 dragons and a strong army, managed to conquer the entire continent and unite it under his rule and to become the first king to sit on the Iron Throne. The Iron Throne is central to the plot of the entire series, as the entire series is centered on the battles of several families to capture it and to become rulers of Westeros.

Aerys II Targaryen went mad and enacted a rule of terror over the lands of Westeros. Many nobles, led by Robert Baratheon and Eddard Stark, rose up to try to depose him. They finally succeeded in killing him and deposing his family from the Iron Throne. Robert Baratheon took over the throne himself to rule as King Robert of House Baratheon.

In the opening of the series we are also introduced to Cercei, who is Robert’s wife and mother of their children. She is originally from the Lannister family, who are from the western part of Westeros and who are also the continent’s richest family. Her father is Tywin Lannister and the other major characters from her family are her brothers: Jaime and Tyrion. Jaime is a knight in the King’s Guard, while Tyrion is a small dwarf. Unknown to all, Cercei is actually carrying on an incestuous relationship with her brother Jaime and it is him who is the real father of the Baratheon children (the eldest of which, Joffrey, is the heir to the Iron Throne). This secret will prove to be one of the central points of the entire story.
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