un -Just Spring

In Spartacus by Barry Strauss2 Comments

My sources tell me that gladiators are in for spring this year – gladiator sandals, that is. In Imperial Rome, gladiators were always in for spring – the sword-carrying, kill-each-other-for-sport kind. The annual festival from March 19 to 23, known as the Quinquatria, was prime time for gladiatorial contests. Just as the fields of Italy began to bloom with color, the sands of its arenas turned bloodstained.

Another highlight of the annual gladiatorial calendar was the Saturnalia, the uninhibited celebration from December 17 to 23, including fights in the amphitheater. Nowadays we celebrate the corresponding times of year with holiday feasts and student hijinks, so maybe progress really does exist.

Barry Straussun -Just Spring

Comments

  1. Adrienne Mayor

    “Gladiator sandals” are the hot fashion this year–but didn’t a recent archaeological discovery in what is now Turkey demonstrate that gladiators actually went barefoot?

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