MERCATO IN SPARTACUS

14/10/2020

     Mercato is a Roman and noble politician from Capua. He is the grandson of Marcus Minucius Rufus, the famous Thracian conqueror. Perhaps Mercato is one of the few sympathetic Romans in the Spartacus series, check it out.


APPEARANCE AND PERSONALITY

     Middle-aged with medium height, Mercato is a bald man with a prominent forehead because of that. Like most of his colleagues and Roman superiors, he uses expensive fine-cut robes.

     Mercato is very proud of his family and seems to be very friendly with everyone else present. He enjoys playing games and regularly visits them with his wife. He is also friends with Batiatus and many others in Capua. He is a close friend of Magistrate Galieno and also of the brothers Seppius and Seppia, for having known them since childhood and his death caused them great pain. Gaius Claudius Glaber, however, did not like him, coldly referring to him as not being "someone important".


BLOOD AND SAND

     Mercato first appears next to Batiatus when examining the gladiators in his home. When admiring the champion of the house Crixus, the Frenchman shows his sword to Mercato and scares the Roman. Batiatus rejoices with Mercato because it was the steel that killed the lives of the Gargan Twins.

     Later, after Theokoles 'downfall and Spartacus' meteoric rise as champion, Mercato should host the next games in the arena, in honor of his grandfather, Marcus Minucius Rufus, who conquered the Thracians in the past.

     While Mercato pays a visit to Batiatus, he reminds the lanista of Rufus's story, and how Mercato initially wanted the role of Rufus to be played by Crixus, although Teokoles' injuries proved that Gaul was incapable of combat. As Batiatus offers Gnaeus as a replacement, Mercato refuses and requests Spartacus, due to his recent stardom. Paying additional costs for the champion, Mercato accepts and believes that the next show would be a spectacle.

     When the games finally arrive, while Spartacus is dressed in Rufus 'armor to face six other Thracian slaves, Mercato asks about the accumulated odds, unaware of Spartacus' request for disadvantage. While Mercato watches Spartacus allow a spear to almost end his life, Romano is increasingly concerned whether the champion will survive adversity or not, and comments to Batiatus if he realizes who has won this battle historically. Eventually, however, Spartacus manages to gain the advantage and defeat all his competitors, much to Mercato's delight. When Glaber arrives in Capua, he will meet with Mercato in hopes of finding out what happened to Licínia, cousin of the wealthy Marcus Licinius Crasso. This meeting is not going well, as Mercato gives no explanation of what happened, leaving Glaber frustrated.


VENGEANCE

     Mercato appears in the arena with Galieno and Seppia, watching a slow and ineffective fight hurriedly mounted to distract the crowd from current events. He and Galieno are shocked when Seppia says that eight of his brother's men were slaughtered that day.

     He greets Glaber on his arrival at the old Batiatus villa as he prepares to camp for his men. Mercato, acting in place of Galieno, wishes to discuss the situation with Glaber, but the Praetor ignores him and does not heed Mercato's warnings about Spartacus' exploits.

     He attends a party held at the villa by Glaber and Ilithyia along with Galieno, Publius Varinius and Cossutius, where he states his impressions of how the villa has been cleaned up since the massacre a few weeks earlier. He then participates in the torture of the captured gladiator and turned into a rebel Acer.

     When Gannicus returns to Capua to participate in the executions of Oenomaus, Crixus and Rhaskos, Mercato greets him on arrival and promises him a high salary when the three are dead. Mercato himself is in charge of organizing all the games of the day, including executions. He and Gannicus discuss the terms, but Gannicus claims he is light. Mercato gives him some and wants to show Gannicus to the Magistrate and the Praetor, Publius Varinius, but Gannicus refuses, wishing the attention of the wine and the women instead. Mercato smiles when he sees how Gannicus has not changed and decides to let him go while he takes care of the game.

     During the games, Publius Varinius comments that Mercato did a great job of pairing gladiators, even estimating that he should conduct this trade in Rome. Mercato looks proud, but declines respectfully, as his fortune is tied to Capua.

     When Spartacus and his men launched their rescue mission and started to burn the arena, he was present in the arena's pulvinus with the other Romans. He is killed while trying to escape, being killed by a collapsing support beam that crushes him under his heavy weight.

     Her death deeply saddens Galieno, Seppius and Seppia in particular, putting her in a state of deep sadness and depression that Seppius likens to what she felt after the death of her cousin Magistrate Sixth.


MERCATO QUOTES

"Do you know that my grandfather won this battle?"

"How are you going to stir up the crowd! Stories about Gannicus's prowess still fill the air, rivaling those of Hercules himself"

"Clean the fucking path!" (last words)


TRIVIA

  • In the DVD commentary for Spartacus: Blood and Sand from the final episode of the Kill Them All season, Steven DeKnight commented that Mercato would originally die in the Batiatus House massacre, but actor Greg Ward was unable to appear on the set due to scheduling conflicts. As a result, Mercato later appeared in Vengeance, where the character finally died as planned.
  • In the Legends credits, Greg Ward is titled 'Erebus', although he is directly referred to as 'Mercato' during the episode. This is due to the fact that the character was originally called Erebus before filming, but the name was changed very close to the initial filming date. (Comment from actor Greg Ward)
  • Interestingly, Mercato is actually a modern Italian word for market. Although it is etymologically linked to the Latin word Mercator, which means "merchant".
  • Mercato seems to have exercised the position of Aedile. In the big cities of the Republic, Edilato would be owned by two colleagues, with the responsibility of organizing markets, public games, supervising the application of the law and the maintenance of public buildings.
  • Mercato would have been a member of the local political class of Capua, known alternately as Curiales or Decuriones, who were landowners and local merchants with sufficient wealth and status to govern provincial cities.
  • Mercato is described as a grandson of the Roman senator and general under the name of Marcus Minucius Rufus. who was the Tribune of the Plebe in 121 BC and maintained the Consulship with Aulus Postumius Albinus in 110 BC. As such, Mercato is a descendant of Gens Minucia. Different branches of Gens were derived from patrician and commoner origins. The oldest patrician branch of the Minucii originally inhabited Monte Esquilino in Rome, while a younger plebeian branch of Gens Minucia, such as Rufii, may have been named after an ancestor with red hair (meaning Rufus in Latin).

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