Abstract: Gladiators at Pompeii: Roman Spectacle in a Small Town


Pompeii offers archaeologists unique evidence for arena spectacle such as gladiatorial combat, prisoner executions and animal hunts. Thanks to its superb preservation we can study, as from nowhere else in the ancient world, the facts of these arena spectacles, how they worked and how they were integrated into the life of a small Roman town. In this lecture we visit a gladiatorial training school which provides the only extant armor from Roman gladiators, examine the oldest amphitheater we have from the Roman world and analyze the ramifications of games for the city. We also trace the imagery of gladiators at Pompeii and see where and why pictures of gladiators end up on virtually every possible surface in both public and private space in the city.


Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic:

Tuck, S. “Representations of Sport and Spectacle in Roman Art” A Companion to Ancient Sport and SpectacleBlackwell Publishing, 2011

Tuck, S. “Scheduling Spectacle: Factors contributing to the dates of Pompeian muneraRivista di Studi Pompeiani 19: 25-34, 2008

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