Conquering Crowds Without A Sword

We have trouble with the idea of being meek. Probably because we think the word means to be powerless or weak. but it must not be confused with being wishy-washy. A meek person is not necessarily indecisive or timid. Nor is meekness to be confused with mere affability. Some people are just naturally nice and easy-going; but then again, so are some dogs! Meekness goes much deeper.

In the 2000 film, Gladiator, Russell Crowe plays the role of the loyal general Maximus Decimus Meridius. Maximus is betrayed by the Emperor’s son Commodus, who kills his own father for the throne. Maximus goes from prominence to despair, finding himself reduced to slavery and forced to fight as a gladiator in the arena.

Russell Crowe as Maximus Decimus Meridus in the movie Gladiator.

Russell Crowe as Maximus Decimus Meridus in the movie Gladiator.

As Maximus finds his way to the Coliseum, he is forced to fight against the undefeated gladiator Tigris. Having wounded Tigris, Commodus commands Maximus to execute the defeated gladiator. In an unprecedented move, Maximus refuses. He lays down his sword. Suddenly from the crowd comes a voice: “Maximus, Maximus, the merciful!” By restraining his power, Maximus exerted even more power over the emperor.

Although the Emperor sought to conquer through force and cruelty, he is defeated through an act of meekness. It is true that Maximus was skilled at war, but it was his meekness that conquered the crowds; it was his meekness that conquered Commodus.