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Sacramentum Gladiatorum
Season 1
Number Episode 02
Date Aired January 29, 2010
Writer Steven S. DeKnight
Director Rick Jacobson
Previous The Red Serpent
Next Legends

"Sacramentum Gladiatorum" is the second episode of Spartacus: Blood and Sand and is the second episode in the Spartacus series overall.

Plot Outline

Enslaved in gladiatorial school, the newly christened Spartacus must try to suppress his desire for vengeance when his new master promises to reunite him with his wife.


Spartacus lies in Batiatus' Ludus recovering from his fight and he dreams of being reunited with his wife, Sura. The dream ends violently with Sura's head erupting into a fountain of blood, and Spartacus awakes to find himself chained to a table. Batiatus then orders Spartacus’s long hair to be shaven off.

Inside the villa above, Lucretia ponders over the pool in the center, which has remained dry due to the drought and lack of money. She complains that buying Spartacus drained their funds, but Batiatus informs her that Glaber will be visiting soon and that their fortune is improving, with the thought of Glaber as patron to the ludus.

Downstairs, the gladiators bathe in what water is left, and Spartacus is thrown in to join them. Crixus and Barca taunt him,

Ilithyia sees the Gladiators for the first time.

telling him of the proud life of a gladiator. The next day, Spartacus and the other new recruits (including Marcus, Varro, Kerza and an unnamed trainee) are led out into the training area by Oenomaus in front of the gladiators. Oenomaus delivers a speech, telling them of the ludus being sacred ground. Batiatus comes out onto the balcony to observe and motivate the trainees. Oenomaus then approaches Spartacus and talks of his victory in the arena but claims it was nothing, hollow and worthless, and that Spartacus would not have lasted against any of Batiatus' gladiators. Spartacus shows disagreement and Oenomaus orders a practice match against Crixus, who gladly obliges. Spartacus refuses to fight or heed Oenomaus' orders and only grabs the sword once Oenomaus' back is turned, ready to fight for his freedom. Crixus deflects this attack and beats him down easily. Eventually, Spartacus throws his sword at Crixus, but the sword is slashed away and slices open the throat of an unnamed trainee as Spartacus looks on in horror. Crixus uses this opportunity and forces him to the ground. Spartacus refuses to surrender, but Batiatus secures his life so he can last until Glaber's visit.

The trainee gladiators begin their training. They practice wielding swords and shields and carry heavy beams around the yard to build their strength. In their lunch break, Varro joins Spartacus and they talk of the other gladiators. Varro reveals that he is only there to pay off his debts for his wife, Aurelia, and son, Janus.

Ovidius appears in the villa to inform Batiatus of his debt for three months of grain, and Batiatus arranges for it to be paid off after the approaching arena games. He worries about state of his gladiators for the games, and tells Doctore to train them even harder. The trainees are taken from their sleeping cells and forced to carry logs through the night. At dawn they are allowed to eat but Barca throws the rest of the food to the ground for amusement. Ashur, seeing their hunger, approaches Spartacus with a loaf of bread and tells him of his services, suggesting that it would be in his favor for Spartacus to survive, as Crixus would lose a large sum of money.

Before he can properly eat, Spartacus is dragged away by the guards to be held in a cell for Glaber's

Glaber meeting Spartacus.

arrival. Glaber taunts him, showing him the purple ribbon that Spartacus tied around Sura's leg before he left their village. Desperate for her to be safe, Spartacus offers his life in exchange for hers, but Glaber points out that his life is no longer his to bargain with as he is now a slave. As he leaves, Glaber drops the purple ribbon to the floor, telling Spartacus that he sold Sura to an unpleasant Syrian for half a coin.

Meanwhile, up in the villa, Lucretia and Ilithyia become acquainted over the meal Batiatus prepared for the visit. As they discover each other's more dubious natures, both are intrigued. Ilithyia spies the gladiators from the balcony and is fascinated by them, having been denied such sights by her father. Her visit is cut short though as Glaber prepares to leave and take Ilithyia with him, but not before Ilithyia can place a kiss on Lucretia's lips with a lascivious parting glance.

Spartacus is returned to the training gladiators. He sees Glaber leaving the ludus and takes his anger out on Kerza almost killing him, only stopping with Oenomaus' intervention. He loses the purple ribbon, which Oenomaus notices and picks up and later gives to Batiatus, in the hope that it can tame Spartacus' will. Batiatus, deducing the origin and meaning of the ribbon, shows it to Spartacus. He convinces Spartacus to fight for him and serve him, on the promise that he will find and return Sura to him.

Later that night, the gladiators gather for the test of the trainees. Varro battles Gnaeus and, although

Crixus and Spartacus fight.

he does not win, he is well matched and is accepted into the brotherhood. Next, the trainee Marcus fights Barca and is quickly and mercilessly killed. Crixus is chosen to fight Spartacus. At first Spartacus seems again unwilling, but the thought of Sura convinces him that he must act and the fight begins. The two fight well and a pause at the end allows Spartacus to push Crixus off the wooden stage. He moves in for the kill but Batiatus orders him to stop. Spartacus gives in, acknowledging him as Dominus. The remaining gladiators (Spartacus, Varro and Kerza) recite the oath of the gladiators (sacramentum gladiatorum) and receive the mark of the brotherhood (a 'B' for Batiatus) burned onto the inside of their arms.

Characters in Order of Appearance

  1. Spartacus
  2. Sura (dreamed)
  3. Batiatus
  4. Medicus
  5. Santos
  6. Lucretia
  7. Naevia
  8. Crixus
  9. Gnaeus
  10. The Veteran
  11. Pietros
  12. Aria
  13. Leviticus
  14. Ortius
  15. Barca
  16. Pollux
  17. Mannus
  18. Rhaskos
  19. Ashur
  20. Marcus
  21. Varro
  22. Kerza
  23. Unnamed Trainee
  24. Oenomaus
  25. Euclid
  26. Arkadios (flashback)
  27. Ovidius
  28. Glaber
  29. Ilithyia

Historical Context

It is believed that the real life Spartacus was brought to the Ludus of Gnaeus Cornelius Lentulus Batiatus in 75 BC, two years before the start of his rebellion. According to some sources, he was brought to the city with his wife.

The "Sacramentum Gladiatorum" was a real oath taken by every Gladiator, and sworn to their Lanista. It is unknown if new recruits swore the oath before beginning their training as Gladiators, or after a period of time training. Unlike in the episode, it's unknown if they were tested before swearing the oath as, with the cost of slaves, it's unknown which Lanista would have wanted to risk the life of a new recruit through such a test. However, it may have differed from one Lanista to another.


Sura: "I will always be with you. The gods themselves cannot keep me from your side."
Spartacus: "I would kill them all for trying."

Barca: "This is the one; this Spartacus everyone's been pissing about."
Spartacus: "Spartacus? My name-"
Crixus: "No one gives shit to who you were, Thracian."

Barca: "What do you expect from a Thracian? Smells like fresh shit."
Crixus: "Oh they all do. Except for their women; they smell like piss... and shit."
Spartacus: "What're you then?"
Crixus: "A Gaul, little man. The greatest of my kind! Crixus, the Undefeated!"
Spartacus: "A Gaul! That explains why you... smell like a woman."

Oenomaus: "What is beneath your feet?"
Kerza: "Sand."
Oenomaus: "Crixus! What is beneath your feet?"
Crixus: "Sacred ground, Doctore. Watered with the tears of blood."

Batiatus: "You have been blessed, each and every one of you. You find yourselves here in the ludus of Quintus Lentulus Batiatus, purveyor of the finest gladiators in all the republic! Prove yourselves in the hard days to follow, prove yourselves more than a common slave, more than a man! Fail, and die, and be sold off to the mines. Succeed, and stand proud among my titans!"

Spartacus: "My life then... in exchange for hers."
Glaber: " Your life is no longer yours to bargain."

Batiatus: "You are the worst; a beast born of the heart. What would you do to hold your wife again? To feel the warmth of her skin, to taste her lips... would you kill?"
Spartacus: "Whoever stood between us."
Batiatus: "How many men? A hundred? A thousand?"
Spartacus: "I would kill them all."

Batiatus: "Your life now promises meaning. Swear it to me. Recite the sacramentum gladiatorum."
Spartacus: "I commit my flesh, my mind, my will to the glory of this ludus and the commands of my master, Batiatus. I swear to be burned, chained, beaten or die by the sword for honor in the arena."
Batiatus: "Welcome to the brotherhood."

Ilithyia: "The gods yet ignore us!"
Lucretia: "Perhaps we've done something to offend them.
Ilithyia: "I try to do a little something every day."



Spartacus Blood and Sand - Ep 102 "Sacramentum Gladiatorium" Preview


  • In the Blu-Ray featurette 'Oh, Those Randy Romans' Rob Tapert reveals that there were 17 men in one of the bathhouse scenes, referring to the first time Spartacus enters in this episode. This would logically mean that at that point in time, Batiatus had only 17 gladiators and/or trainees, yet 25 can be named as living there at that time.
    • It is possible that some of the men were elsewhere, but more likely is that since 9 of the 25 gladiators were not seen until at least season 2, the actual number or gladiators was never intended to be quantifiable, as there was too many background characters.
  • In the bathhouse scene, one gladiator can be seen fully naked. This was the actors decision, not something originally intended, but Rob Tapert the producer, felt it was actually "the right thing for the scene."


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