What We Do in Life Echoes in Eternity

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What we do in life echoes in eternity
photo © Andrey Kiselev | Fotolia.com



“What we do in life echoes in eternity.” – Maximus, “Gladiator”

The film “Gladiator” is an epic-historical drama by Ridley Scott in 2000. It garnered 119 award nominations and won 48 prizes in 36 ceremonies including the BAFTA Awards, the Golden Globe Rewards, and the 73rd Academy Awards. The huge success of the movie influenced the plummeting sale of the books “Cicero: The Life and Times of Rome’s Greatest Politician” and “Marcus Aurelius Meditations.” It also started the revival of historical epic genre films.

The main character Maximus Declimus Meridius was appointed as Legate of the Emperor’s Legion by Emperor Marcus Aurelius, making him the youngest general appointed in Roman history. The emperor was killed by his son Commodus after revealing his decision of appointing Maximus as his successor. Suspecting Commodus of the crime, he refused to swear allegiance. Commodus ordered him executed but he successfully escaped and returned home only to find his
wife and his son hung. He was captured by thieves that night and was sold to the old gladiator Proximo. The rest of his life was then dedicated to seek vengeance for the death of his family while struggling to stay alive in the arena.

Actor Russell Crowe won his first Academy Award for Best Actor in his portrayal of Maximus. Empire magazine put Maximus 35th place in their 100 Greatest Movie Character, and the American Film Institute included him in their list of 100 greatest screen characters. But Maximus is only a fictional character speculated to be a composite of actual historical figures. Regardless, he continues to be one of the most memorable and soulfully played characters in a movie.



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