"What we do in life echoes in eternity"
" Every hour make up thy mind sturdily as a Roman and a man to do what thou hast in hand with scrupulous and unaffected dignity and love of thy kind and independence and justice; and to give thyself rest from all other impressions." - Meditations II, 5

Maximus Decimus Meridius - Biography

Was born in the hills somewhere between Trujillo and Merida in the municipality of Caceres in Hispania in AD 152. He was the son of Meridius, the governor of the province, and of Lucretia, the daughter of the Roman Senator Bodaus.

He was sent to school at the age of eight to Hispalis, and studied under the tutelage of Fulvus, the stoic philospher. He joined the army at 17 as a Standard Bearer.He fought in campaigns against the Celts in Britannia and against the Parthians in Cappadocia. Honored for his bravery under the fire of battle, he moved up through the ranks as optio, centurion, and then as primus pilus of the First Cohort under General Lucius Veras.

Marcus Aurelius, a friend of Maximus's father and father-in-law, appointed him Legate of the Emperor's Legion in AD 176. He was the youngest general so appointed in Roman history.

Possible head of Maximus. found in the Tiber River in the 18th Century

He led the army against the Veture in Gaul and the Marcomanni in Germania. He was away for four years until the final victory against the barbarians near the river Danube.Earlier, in AD 171, while visiting the villa of Sergius Manus, a wealthy landowner in the Spanish province of Gemina, he fell in love with Sergius's daughter Cecilia. Maximus and Cecilia married, and had a son named Decimus after his grandfather. They settled on a working farm in the hills of Fulginia, several day's ride from Rome. The farm sat on a hillside, and giant poplars lined its entry road. Though he was able to spend little time with his family, he loved them deeply. Letters that he wrote to his son and wife survived him, and were carefully preserved by his followers after his death.

After Marcus Aurelius's death in the camp at Vindobona, Maximus was arrested by the guards of the new emperor Commodus (rumored to have smothered his own father). Suspecting Commodus, the general had refused to give allegiance to the new emperor. As he was about to be executed, Maximus overwhelmed his guards and escaped.In retaliation for this, Commodus had the general's family and retainers brutally murdered.Maximus returned home after much travail and found his loved ones crucified. He fainted from sorrow and his wounds, and was captured by marauding thieves while asleep.

He was sold to the old gladiator Proximo, and trained at his school, taking the name of "The Spaniard." Vowing revenge against Commodus, he fought in many battles in stadiums all over the Roman world -- his fame gaining all the while -- finally coming to the Coliseum in Rome in AD 187.He died in the Coliseum in AD 192 at age 40, after defeating and killing Commodus in a battle in the arena. (He had been secretly stabbed by Commodus beforehand while still tied as a prisoner.) The Roman mob cheered his victory and hailed him as a hero. His dying wish to return Rome to a republic was honored.

A few years after his death, however, the Roman world fell into ruin, and was destroyed at the hands of the same barbarians he had defeated years before.

Information above is wholly imaginative.

From Editing Art Comments by Pietro Scalia, editor on Gladiator:

"One of the things I'm really proud of is the first shot. It's an example of how writing is done editorially. The "hand over the wheat" shot was not in the script. Ridley had shot it for part of the heaven sequence. I used it at the beginning of the film for two reasons. One was the poetic beauty and power of the image. For me it represented a cinematic and thematic clue. Ridley had intended to start with a closeup on Maximus. With the "hand over the wheat" shot, the idea was to show Maximus' soul or inner state. You go inside of him. That shot contains the theme for the entire film. Visually and thematically it's a poetic shot. It's up for interpretation, but it will linger with you, and it's used and repeated all the way to the end. It fit well as a thematic link to Homer's "Odysseus." To me it shows how you can anchor a film and how material gets unified in the editing process by consolidating themes and by empowering an image with multiple meanings."












More fun stuff on Maximus HERE

The following is the scene between Maximus and Lucilla from the companion paperback book to Gladiator, by Dewey Gram

He was very moved, "You've done all this? Maximus asked. "You risk too much" "I have much to pay for," Lucilla said. She moved as if to leave. "You have nothing to pay for," Maximus said, "You love your son. You're strong for him" Tears alighted in her eyes. She turned away to hide them. "I am tired of being strong," she said. "My brother hates all the world -- and you most of all." "Because your father chose me." "No," she said facing him stoically. "Because my father loved you...and because I loved you." He drew her hands to his lips and kissed them tenderly. "A long time ago," he said. "Was I so very different then?" she said. He thought about that, then smiled. "You laughed more," he said. Their eyes met, deep in their memories. "I must go," she said. "Yes," Maximus agreed. Neither of them moved. "I've felt alone all my life -- except with you," she said. She turned to leave, but he held her, drawing her close, and they kissed deeply. It was their first kiss for many, many years, at rest there in each other's arms if only for this short moment.

They separated, stealing one last look. And then she went quickly back into the dark night.