The new season of Spartacus started a couple of weeks ago and, for a gal who writes historical erotic romance, I couldn’t be happier. I mean, this show’s got it all . . . ancient Rome, captivating storylines, fascinating characters, romance, lots of sex. Oh, and did I mention GLADIATORS!!! (hold on, wiping off drool). Yeah, I got a thing for gladiators.
A few months ago I wrote a post about bad boys and specifically focused on Vikings and pirates. But the thing is, those guys were really bad bad. As in, raping women, looting villages, killing innocent people. And maybe if you just happened upon a Viking or pirate, not knowing his true profession, you may very well gaze upon that buff, rock-hard body and think, hey, that’s one sexy dude. But then, see, once you learn that he’s a Viking or a pirate, the hotness appeal gets muddied because they were often not so very nice. Downright awful, in fact. But that’s where gladiators stand out from the pack.
The muscles and the hotness factor are certainly there (I mean, would ya look at that guy in the picture!) but unlike a Viking or pirate, a gladiator’s main goal in life was not to willingly cause misery to others. Sure, they killed plenty of men – ’cause they were forced to. It was a kill-or-be-killed life for those guys. But in my gladiator fantasy, the strapping hot muscle-bound guy longs for a simple, quiet life, sharing his incredible sexual prowess and commitment with only the heroine (me) while living off the land in some idyllic, pastoral countryside, like maybe Tuscany.
Some historical information on gladiators points out that they were of low birth, often slaves or enemy soldiers. There actually were also gladiators who had volunteered for the job. Crazy, but true. The thing is, gladiators were able to keep their winnings, and if you were good enough at your job the winnings could be substantial. Being good at the job, though, required substantial fighting prowess, and gladiator schools for developing those skills were big business at the time.
But imagine the storyline possibilities! Huge, brawny, sexy guy, wronged in life by some bastard of a slave-owner, forced into deadly combat just to survive. His enslavement has taken him away from everything in life he’s ever known or cared about. Our hero’s superior fighting skills, however, begin to attract attention, including the eye of a wealthy Roman senator’s wife. She despises her ruthless husband and longs to be free but doesn’t know how. Gladiator hero is in the same boat. Senator’s wife and gladiator meet and have hot, illicit sex, knowing that they can never be together because circumstance just won’t allow it. But what if he escapes? And what if he escapes and takes the senator’s wife with him? They’ll also manage along the way to rid the world of the jerk senator and retain the substantial earnings the gladiator has made in the ring. Oh, and the senator’s wife makes off with some serious loot, too, so the gladiator and the senator’s wife make their way to some beautiful little pocket of the world where they live in tranquility and heart-pounding sex for the rest of their days.
Truthfully, being a gladiator was a pretty horrible life. But sometimes it’s just not fun to focus on reality. Isn’t that what romances are for, after all? They allow us to escape into our fun, fantasy life, insert ourselves as the heroine in the story, and have hot, sexy gladiators always winning their fights.