The Birds of Gladiator
One of the very first sights scene in the movie was the European Robin. At the very beginning of the movie, General Maximus is preparing for the battle. He comes across a European Robin, which sits and watches him for a while before flying away. Maximus watches it leave.
As many people watching the movie would have understood, the European Robin is fiercely territorial and defends its garden area. It loves gardens and homes, where it can nibble on worms and seeds. On one hand, it represented the gardens of Maximus' home, where he longed to return and bring in his harvest. On the other hand, it represented the determination of the Germans to protect their homeland from his attack.
The next bird encountered is also a quiet, domestic type of bird. When Maximus returns home to check on his family, he finds his crops burnt, his workers slain. The only thing moving as he approaches his house is a pair of chickens, apparently male and female.
This helps to show that the killing wasn't for any sort of gain. The chickens - which would have been valuable either for eating or for eggs - were just abandoned to fend for themselves. The slaughter was all simply to destroy Maximus' family. And even with the family and household dead, the chickens would live on, nature would keep going.
Gladiator and Birding - Off to the Middle East
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