By Catherine Gaudio Edit
Communism: A system or theory of government and economics in which the state is seen as a loose federation of self-governing communities, who usually are loyal to the interests of one's own ethnic group rather than a society as a whole. In the 1960's, it also came to mean the practice or advocacy of communal living or ownership of personal property. The world Communism comes from the French word communisme, root commun and isme which mean “shared” or “common”—visions of a society that may be considered communist appeared as long ago as the 4th-century BCE.
The word Communist, is said to be coined in 1840 by London's own John Goodwyn Barmby, which later became the word Communism we use today.The word communism had a less evil meaning that is associated with the modern concept of an economic and political organization. It In the ideal state described in Plato's Republic,the governing class of guardians devotes itself to serving the interests of the whole community. Ancient Greeks believed that private ownership of goods would corrupt their owners by encouraging selfishness, Plato argued, the guardians must live as a large family that shares common ownership not only of material goods but also of spouses and children.Other early visions of communism drew their inspiration from religion. Christians were the first to practice the simple form of communism. The Christians used communism both as a form of solidarity and renouncing all worldly possessions, Acts 4:32-37. Similar acts of communism inspired the formation of monastic orders in which monks took vows of poverty and promised to share their few worldly goods with each other and with the poor. The English humanist Sir Thomas More extended this monastic communism in Utopia (1516), which describes an imaginary society in which money is abolished and people share meals, houses, and other goods in common. It was not intill
Communism's effect on Sword and Sandal films Edit
Not only did peoples view of the word Communism changed peoples views it also had a big impact on sword and sandal films. we see this impact in the films like Quo Vadis, Ben Hur,Spartacus. Quo Vadis was released in 1951 during the anti-Communist crusade in the United States. In the early 1950's America was preparing its self for a fight against what was seen to be a growing threat of Communism in the post-war world. The film Quo Vadis conveys the social and political concerns that were rising with the new struggle . Film historians have made note of post-war Hollywood epics of the 1950's followed a " linguistic paradigm" which cast British actors as the wicked Roman oppressors, like emperors, generals, while the American actors take the roles of their righteous adversaries like Jewish, Christain. We see this with the Character Nero in the movie Quo Vadis which was played by Britsh actor Peter Ustinov. We also the "linguistic paradigm" with the Roman slave/ gladiator holder Lentulus Batiatus played by Britsh actor Peter Ustinov, in the film you also see Communistic ways, for example, Spartacus will always be considered a slave and the Romans will always be more powerful and better than him. The comment of how slavery was a central part of American history is pointed to in the beginning in the scenes featuring Draba and Spartacus. Draba sacrifices himself by attacking Crassus rather than kill Spartacus. This scene could point to the "fact" that Americans are indebted to the suffering of African Americans, who played a major role in building the country. The fight to end segregation and to promote the equality of African Americans is seen in the mixing of races within the gladiator school as well as in the army of Spartacus where all fight for freedom. We see evidence of communism's in Ben Hur as well,Wyler was active in co-founding the Committee on the First Amendment. TheCFA, whose aim was to defend the rights of people to keep their political beliefs to themselves, sent a delegation of Hollywood stars to Washington as a show support for the unfriendly witnesses. We see this when When the main character Judah a Christian resists Messala's demand that he inform on his people, Wyler was comparing America to the Roman Empire in its attempt to subvert civil liberties. Judah is punished because he defies the Roman government and their communistic ways. The Roman government looked down on the slaves and the Christians and that they were beneath them an example of this in Ben Hur is when the slaves are on the boat rowing and the Romans would let the pretty much die off from exhaustion. We see this again when Ben Hur falls out of line and is denied a drink of water from the Romans.
Cyrino, Monica Silveira. Big Screen Rome. Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub., 2005. Print.
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