Gladiators Fought By The Rules

I always find stories like this to be interesting.

LONDON (Reuters) – Gladiators may have fought and died to entertain others in the brutality of the Roman arena but they appear to have abided by a strict code of conduct which avoided savage violence, forensic scientists say.

Tests on the remains of 67 gladiators found in tombs at Ephesus in Turkey, center of power for ancient Rome’s eastern empire, show they stuck to well defined rules of combat and avoided gory free-for-alls.

Injuries to the front of each skull suggested that each opponent used just one type of weapon per bout of face-to-face contact, two Austrian researchers report in a paper to be published in Forensic Science International.

“Savage violence and mutilation, typical of battlefields 2,000 years ago, were out of order.

And the losers appear to have died quickly.

Despite the fact that most gladiators wore helmets, 10 of the remains showed the fighters had died of squarish hammer-like blows to the side of the head, possibly the work of a backstage executioner who finished off wounded losers after the fight.

The report confirms the picture given of battles in the arena by Roman artwork, which suggests gladiators were well matched and followed rules enforced by two referees.”

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  1. ~ Stacy ~ February 23, 2006 at 8:06 pm

    “My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, Commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.”

    Eh, that was my favorite line in the movie, “Gladiator”. That and “Unleash hell.”

  2. Jack's Shack February 23, 2006 at 5:35 am

    From those about to die, we salute you.

  3. Jerusalemcop February 23, 2006 at 5:29 am

    u mena that Ridley Scott’s version isn’t accurate?????

    I thought it was based on fact 🙂


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