One of my favorite cable series as a “History Homer” is Spartacus on Starz, the show is not for the prudish as there are hardcore sexual and homosexual scenes, violence, rape, limitless drama, and full frontal nudity of men and women equally. Homophobes stay far away from it as it will scar you beyond measure, but you regular folks out there ought to check it out if you get a chance.
Spartacus: Blood and Sands introduced us to many powerful characters, some honorable, some ruthless and some who were just plain evil. Of all the men and women that we got to know personally, none was more honorable than one Oenomaus the Doctore for the Ludus of Batiatus.
Oenomaus The Gladiator Legend
Oenomaus was a legendary gladiator whose skills were beyond match, so much so that he was destined to win the coveted Rudis (a wooden sword of freedom) which was awarded to only the best of the best as it allowed them to become free men of high status in Roman society. Oenomaus’s glory ended when he was made to fight a giant by the name of Theokoles who cut him down almost killing him but leaving a visible scar across his chest and face.
Wanting to re-earn his honor by a rematch, Oenomaus recovered and helped train his best friend Gannicus (the best Gladiator to wear the mark of house Batiatus) but was denied reentry into the arena due to his master’s love for him. Titus, the patriarch Batiatus was a man who understood the arena and would have gladly allowed Oenomaus to revenge Theokoles in mortal combat, but he left the house to his scheming son Quintus who saw Oenomaus as a mighty warrior who had surpassed the need for risking his life in an arena.
He was that kind of guy, Quintus Batiatus did not want Oenomaus to get hurt anymore, feeling he had more than earned the right to live as a peaceful slave as opposed to fodder for the games. Oenomaus saw it as a slight to his honor but his obedience to Titus (who was more friend than master to him) made him accept the position of Doctore (trainer of gladiators) rather than rebel against his master’s wishes.
Oenomaus The Husband (warning spoilers ahead):
One of the rewards for his position as Doctore and trusted friend of Titus, was in being allowed to marry. Oenomaus chose the beautiful Melitta as his wife and remained loyal to her even when she betrayed their vows and fell in love with his best friend Gannicus (poor girl – it’s complicated). When his wife died by poison, Oenomaus shut down for days consumed with sorrow and once recovered, prayed for her nightly and looked at no other women for the remainder of his time in the house.
Oenomaus The Teacher
If there’s one thing that Oenomaus was good at it was fighting, the man was a wraith with the dual gladius. When he was grounded and removed from competition, he taught men who would continue his honor by raising the house of Batiatus to extreme prominence. Of all his students the mightiest was arguably The Immortal Gannicus, whose skills earned him the Rudis which he gladly accepted to leave the house and the guilt consuming him over his best friend’s wife. There was also Crixus the Champion of Capua, who Oenomaus molded from a barbarian Gaul into a legendary gladiator.
Of course the most famous of the men taught by Oenomaus was the namesake of the show – Spartacus; a rebellious, angry, blood thirsty Thracian who was his polar opposite as Oenomaus chose to follow without question and Spartacus questioned everything. Still a man who could produce this much talent in arms is nothing short of amazing and when you watch the show, he is easily the most liked of the entire cast.
Oenomaus is a Reel Man of Cinema as he encompasses the true spirit of a soldier. He was an unmatched master at his craft, a teacher that made a struggling house realize glory, and a man of honor in every aspect of the word. Many will criticize Oenomaus as being too loyal, having to see treachery laid out in front of him in black and white before switching gears, but people who criticize will probably find the aspects of duty and honor to be foreign disciplines. It is warriors like Oenomaus who achieve martial valor, sure he may be boring on paper, but his devotion to duty made him a solid ally and a frightening enemy.
We salute Oenomaus, played by the underrated Peter Mensah. If you haven’t seen Spartacus: Blood and Sands and Spartacus: Gods of The Arena, I urge you to fix that as soon as possible.See some words or phrases that you don't understand? Check out The Dragon's Lexicon.