un -Just Spring

Posted by Barry Strauss under on March 20, 2009

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.

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