Roman statuette of a gladiator fight
Statuette of will to win and bravery: gladiators(from Latin gladius, a short sword) in ancient Rome were professional fighters who fought each other in public displays. The fight of gladiators against each other is called gladiature. Gladiatorial fights were part of Roman life from 264 BC to the beginning of the 5th century AD.
The first documented gladiator games in Rome took place in 264 BC. This example was soon followed by other Roman nobles, who also honored their deceased with these performances known as munus (= service). Since this form of gladiatorial combat was held next to the funeral pyres, the gladiators were also called bustuarii (Latin bustum, funeral pyre).
- Width of gladiators 11,5cm
- gladiators height: 9cm
- real alabaster plaster patinated
The Roman historian Servius wrote about it:
'It was the custom to sacrifice prisoners on the tombs of brave warriors; when the cruelty of this custom was apparent to all, it was decided to have gladiators fight in front of the tombs [...]'
Servius: Commentary on Virgil, Aeneid X 519
In this depiction from a ceramic cast, after an original from the antiquities department of the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe in Hamburg from the 1st - 2nd century AD, two Roman gladiators are fighting.
The attitude of the Romans towards gladiators was very ambivalent: on the one hand gladiators were lower in the social hierarchy than slaves, on the other hand successful gladiators became celebrities, from whom the old Roman virtues such as the will to win, contempt for death and bravery were demonstrated. For both Cicero and Seneca, the equanimous dying gladiator was an 'exemplum virtutis': an example of manly bravery:
'[...] what brave gladiators show by going down with dignity, let us also do, the masters of all lands and peoples - let us rather fall with honor than live in disgrace the life of slaves' (Cicero).
The latter also put the credo into practice for himself: he died the 'gladiatorial death' by willingly offering his neck to the sword when Antony's mercenaries captured him.
Not a toy for children! Unsuitable for small children. May only be used under adult supervision.
This replica is an authentic teaching tool and for your classroom or to collect. Make your history lesson different for a change.
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