General Maximus: screen hero and historical prototype

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General Maximus: screen hero and historical prototype
General Maximus: screen hero and historical prototype

General Maximus is the hero of R. Scott's historical drama "Gladiator". This film was released on world screens in 2000 and immediately received universal recognition, and also won five Oscars. However, the picture has strong discrepancies with the historical realities of the late Roman Empire. This also applies to the personality of the main character of the film, who actually never existed, although his image has a real prototype.

First Soldier Emperor

General Maximus is a character whose biography is somewhat similar to the famous figure of late Roman history Maximinus. He came from Thrace, was distinguished by excellent physical data (like the hero performed by R. Crow) and soon entered the imperial service, becoming one of the best soldiers in the army of Septimius Severus, who loved him very much, respected him and always distinguished him from colleagues. And here again there is a parallel with the fate of the fictional general, who also enjoyed special confidence in the emperor.

general maximus

Under one of the successors of the North, Maximinus left the service and became a landowner, but soon returned to the army again. In the period under review, the rulers often replaced one another, coups d'état were not uncommon for those who came tothe decline of the Roman state. As a result of one of these coups, Maximinus was proclaimed emperor.

The fate of the ruler

General Maximus, like his historical prototype, was very brave in battle and enjoyed the love and respect of his soldiers. In addition, he had an outstanding talent as a strategist, under his leadership the army won brilliant victories. Maximinus also sought to gain support from the guards, and he partially succeeded.

Roman general

However, he brutally persecuted dissenters, and soon his rule turned into a real tyranny. He waged wars, but these campaigns no longer brought him success in society. Bribery, extortion of officials also caused general displeasure, which led to a new conspiracy. Maximinus was killed by his own legionnaires, and his son died with him.

Screen Hero

At the beginning of the film, General Maximus appears to the audience as a brilliant commander who made a dizzying career and achieved the full confidence of the emperor with his victories, who even decided to make him his successor on the throne, despite the fact that he had an heir - the son of Commodus. However, in fact, the latter from childhood bore the title of Caesar, so his rights to the throne were undeniable. Like his historical prototype, the main character of the film had his own estate, which the director sometimes showed the viewer in the form of flashbacks. Just like Maximin, the general once decides to leave the service. However, if the former was guided bypolitical considerations (he was dissatisfied with the reign of the new emperor), then the on-screen character wanted to return to his family - his wife and son.

Political intrigues

In Scott's film, a Roman general is the victim of political intrigue. As a supposed future ruler, he is kidnapped and almost killed, but the hero narrowly escapes death and falls into the hands of a slave trader.

roman general maximus

As a result, he becomes a gladiator. It should be noted here that conspiracies and coups were very common during the late empire, but the film incorrectly shows the end of the reign of Marcus Aurelius. The fact is that according to the script, he died at the hands of his own son, although in fact he died of the plague in modern Vienna. As for the further fate of the main character, it is shown quite dramatically and convincingly: he is taken to Rome as the best fighter to participate in gladiatorial battles.

Gladiator fights

So the Roman commander, by chance, ended up in the position of a slave and was forced to fight in the arena as the most ordinary slave. However, his leadership abilities came in handy: thanks to the skillful organization of the battle, the slaves under his command won an unexpected victory over the superior forces of professional warriors.

general maximus history

All the battle scenes look very impressive in the film, but a number of mistakes were made during the filming: firstly, only specially trained fighters took part in the battles with animals, and secondly, the heroesinflict massive slashing blows with the gladius sword, which was actually a stabbing weapon.


Roman General Maximus became a real hero of the Roman crowd, so Commodus did not dare to kill his old enemy. The latter, along with his sister, took part in a conspiracy to overthrow him. It should be noted that this is a historical fact: Lucilla really became the organizer of a conspiracy against her brother, but the one who was supposed to kill him was revealed even before he had time to carry out his intention. After this, Lucilla was exiled and died in exile a few years later. The most tense moment in the film is, of course, the final battle between the enemies.

Maximus General Marcus Aurelius

The Emperor previously seriously wounded his defenseless opponent, who, nevertheless, managed to defeat him in the arena, after which he died himself. Commodus really participated in the battles in the arena, but he died in a completely different way, as shown in the film. He was killed by his own slave after 12 years of reign.

Painting background

So, General Maximus, whose story is somewhat reminiscent of the fate of his prototype, as a whole turned out to be a rather colorful screen hero. Many critics and viewers have a negative attitude towards the distortion of historical reality, but the film cannot be denied an interesting plot and a colorful atmosphere, which, although not in line with the spirit of the era, nevertheless turned out to be very colorful. The creators tried to interest the public in the events of ancient history, and they succeeded. Maximus -General Marcus Aurelius - became the hallmark of the actor Crowe, who is still associated with this character by many.

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