Christians in the Roman Arena

Kathleen Coleman presents the John and Penelope Biggs Classics Lecture

Imagine the delight of Kathleen Coleman, the James Loeb Professor of the Classics at Harvard University, a Latin scholar and expert in gladiatorial combat, when asked to serve as chief academic consultant for Ridley Scott's 2000 Oscar-winning Hollywood blockbuster, "Gladiator." The delight, however, soon turned sour when she discovered that her work had little impact on the finished product - so little, in fact, that she asked to be listed in the credits without any mention of her function. "Gladiator" fans will be able to get the real story, complete with fascinating details, when Coleman delivers the annual John and Penelope Biggs Lecture in the Classics. Her presentation will examine the culture of arena spectacles, as well as Roman penal theory and practice, to set Christian martyrdom in the context of its times and take into consideration the expectations and attitudes of Roman authorities and audiences.