New ancient gladiator marble reliefs found

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New ancient gladiator marble reliefs found

Italian police have recovered ancient Roman marble reliefs depicting stunningly lifelike gladiators locked in mortal combat after unearthing the hidden cache of grave robbers.

(I saw a Galdiators trident, a three pronged fork, recovered from the harbor in Ephesis, it was a mean serious looking instrument, as wide as the span of a fully open big hand. It would certianly be lethal if it got you in the chest)

The 12 panels were found buried in the garden of a private home near Fiano Romano, about 25 miles north of Rome, and officials hailed the find as a major archaeological discovery and a blow to the illegal antiquities market.

The reliefs date to the late first century B.C. and are believed to have decorated a tomb, yet to be located, in the Roman settlement of Lucus Feroniae, said Anna Maria Moretti, the superintendent for antiquities in the area north of Rome.

The pieces, made of high-quality Carrara marble, are notable for their size and age and are among the finest examples from their period depicting one of Rome's favorite blood sports, Moretti said.

The panels show bare-chested fighters, armed with swords and shields, engaged in duels while surrounded by trumpet and horn players who accompanied the phases of combat in the bloodied arena.

In one of the most dramatic scenes, a gladiator steps on the wrist of a downed opponent who raises a finger in a traditional plea for mercy.

The reliefs will undergo restoration before being shown to the public at Rome's Villa Giulia Museum, officials said.
Archaeologists have unearthed many similar representations, but interest in the new discovery goes beyond its craftsmanship, Moretti said.

The figures in the reliefs, equipped only with swords, shields and basic armor, offer a detailed image from the earlier days of gladiatorial combat.

More common representations dating to later imperial periods show gladiators sporting elaborate protections and wielding a vast array of weaponry, including nets, tridents and daggers, she said.

More pictures on

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By netchicken: posted on 28-1-2007

What is interesting about gladiators is that people made professional and amateurs careers out of it. Killing only really happened in the rare instances of combat, sometimes respected businessmen would engage in a bit of gladiatorial combat in the weekends for exercise.

roman-gladiators2.jpg - 84.27kb
By netchicken: posted on 28-1-2007

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