Maximus had been taken into slavery and became a Gladiator. He is ultimately taken to Rome to fight in the great Coliseum and wins the hearts of the blood thirsty mob for his valor and fighting skill.
The evil emperor, Commodus, thought Maximus was dead and forgotten. He goes to the Coliseum floor before the throngs to meet the great Gladiator, Maximus, whose face is always covered by his helmet. The ensuing conversation moves me to my core…
Commodus: “Why doesn’t the hero reveal himself and tell us his real name? You do have a name?”
Maximus: “My name is Gladiator.” (Turns and starts to walk away.)
“How dare you show your back to me! Slave! You will remove your helmet and tell me your name!”
Maximus takes off his helmet, turns and faces the evil Commodus. In quiet, determined words, he tells his name, his TRUE identity:
“My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius. Commander of the armies of the north. General of the Felix legions. Loyal servant to the true Emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son. Husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life, or the next.”
Utterly shocked to find Maximus alive, Commodus’ words falter. His troops draw swords to slay the Gladiators, but the Coliseum erupts in unison, “Live, live, live…”
The devious, scheming Commodus realizes he is politically and ethically trapped in the eyes of Rome, at least for the moment, so he reluctantly turns his thumb up to show the gladiator will live to fight another day.
Commodus walks from the arena while the Coliseum explodes in cheers, not for the evil emperor, but the gladiator slave as the chant begins…”Maximus, Maximus, Maximus!” Continue reading Slave, What Is Your Name?