Thursday, July 05, 2007

Archaeology shows the real life of GLADIATORS

Gladiators were bean-eating vegetarians who fought barefoot, participated in refereed matches and suffered floggings if they became inebriated or behaved inappropriately with women, new findings suggest.

"If you're operating a gladiator operation and you have someone like Mel Gibson fighting for you, you're not just going to kill him off," said Stephen Dyson, a professor of classics at the University of Buffalo, in reaction to the news.

Scientists at the University of Muenster in Germany announced earlier this month that they had also identified what could be one of the world' earliest training manuals - an instructional tablet for the treatment of gladiators.The nearly 6-foot-high, 3-foot-wide marble object "is a sensation," according to Elmar Schwertheim, an archaeologist who led the research teamthat recently deciphered the writing on the tablet. It was first excavated in 2003 in Alexandria Troas, Turkey.

Hadrian, the Roman emperor from 117 to 138 A.D., laid out the rules, which called for flogging if the athletes were "undisciplined," in ways such as "drinking too much or womanizing." The stone tablet also mentions that entry fees were collected for discus and javelin throwing events. Cities that embezzled such money and prize fees
were to be punished with sanctions.

Translated tombstone inscriptions, which indicated that some gladiators survived more than 100 fights. Injuries still detectable on the skeletons show bouts were organized, conducted barefoot and likely involved a referee. Dyson, who formerly served as the president of the Archaeological Institute of America, said many fights operated within circus-like groups that traveled from city to city. Out of 68 skeletons analyzed at the Turkish burial site, however, all men ranged in age from 20 to 30, except for one individual who died at 55.The tallest gladiators measured around 5 feet 5 inches tall.


http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2007/06/26/gladiator_arc.html?category=archaeology&guid=20070626100030

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