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Historically one can say with some accuracy that the Roman's were religious people. They worshipped many gods and even took ideas for new gods from enemies they captured. In the movie Maximus and an african slave constantly talk about death and how it will allow for a reuinting with family. The movement of the clouds, and even the discipline of Roman Legions during the first battle in Germany implies a discipline forged through faith and religion. In the arena; in battle a gladiator is either meant to live or meant to die, the fates, and the crowds determine such things. Even the emperer himself in the colisseuem determines life or death via a thumbs up or thumbs down which is meant to appease the crowds, and appease the fates. An absolute ruler who can not even outright kill his own worst enemy implies a sense of fate. The Emperer Commodus states that the last thing he wishes is for Maximus to die a martyr. Martyr is a term often associated with cosmic or religious connotations. The Emperer fights Maximus himself in the Colisseum, such a course of action seems illogical, unless the fates or some religious power was at play. Rome fights barbarians rather than enemy nation states. Barbarians are deemed to be without the proper fate or guidance in life. In the movie and even throughout Rome's history, Rome attempts to take the legitimacy of religion away from their enemies so is it makes it easier to justify their conquest or slaughter.