A Day at the Amphitheatre

A day at the amphitheatre, written in first person about a visit to the Pompeiian gladiatorial games

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  • Created on: 29-03-13 20:53
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Margarita Myskovets
A Day at the Amphitheatre
I was so excited for the gladiatorial games that were to come; I waited for them for a long time
as I dreamt of seeing Marcimus Omnimous. Marcimus is a Thracian, which is my favourite
gladiator, as they seem to win every match. Thracians wears armour on both legs and carries a
small square shield and wears either a full visor helmet or an open faced helmet with a wide brim
and carried a curved Thracian sword with a n angled bend in the blade. Marcimus was a prisoner
captured in Spain and is one of the best gladiators in Pompeii at the moment.
I work with my father at the local grocery, which is famous throughout the whole of Pompeii. The
business has been in my family for as long as I can remember and I take great pride in my work.
The second most important thing in my life is the gladiatorial fights, which were to be around
soon. It was two days and counting until the greatest fight Pompeii has ever witnessed against
Nuceria. I have been a bloodthirsty fan of watching gladiators since the age of seven when I saw
my first game with my father and older sister. That day changed my life and I can remember every
second of the match from the words "Mitte" and "Lugula". When I was thirteen years old and
starting to build muscle I wanted to be a gladiator, and trained extremely hard everyday to
become an idolised hero. Even now I occasionally train at the Stabian Baths with some of my
friends. For the past several months the walls of Pompeii have been flooded full of
advertisements for the big day against our neighbouring city, Nuceria.
People have been going crazy over this event, some would even come running into my families
grocery screaming "its coming, its coming" and running out again. Small boys in wearing body
armour made of scrap wood would fight in the streets with wooden sticks whilst girls watched
them. These gladiatorial battles are one of the most longed for holidays of the year. Women in
Pompeii would go crazy over gladiators and fantasise over them and some would go to the
extreme and leave their husband and family just for an affair with these men. My older sister was
going to go to the gladiatorial barracks along with hundreds of other screaming girls the day
before the event to see the fighters train. I planned on going as well in order to catch a glimpse
of Marcimus and see how the gladiators train.
Most of the gladiators are prisoners, slaves and criminals who train long and hard in schools. But a
few fighters are paid volunteers and despite the unpromising life expectancy of those who
entered the arena, free born Romans sometimes became gladiators voluntarily, relinquishing
their rights as citizens and giving over their bodies. In the words of the contract they signed, "to
be burnt, to be chained up, to be beaten, and to be killed by an iron weapon." Gladiators who
performed well were rewarded like my friend, Sypras, who had fallen into financial difficulties, and
became a gladiator. He was always a big man but quite ugly. Now being a gladiator for one year
and won two matches and is one of the richest men I know.
On the day before the event I woke up early, but my sister had already beaten me and was
already up and out the door with two of her friends running to the gladiator barracks. I quickly left
the house and arrived at the barracks sweaty and out of breath. Gladiators were trained at
special schools originally owned by private citizens, but later the schools were taken over by the
imperial state to prevent the build up of a private army and revolutions. Gladiators trained like
true athletes and received medical attention and three meals a day. Their training consisted of
learning how to use various weapons, including the war chain, net, trident, dagger, and lasso.
Each gladiator was allowed to fight in the armour and with the weapons that best suited him.
Gladiators wore the armour and used the weaponry of non-Roman people, playing the role of
Rome's enemies. The gladiators are idols among the citizens and there are always crowds of
screaming fans all watching the gladiators train.
The gladiators training looked extremely hard and brutal, fighting each other with hard wooden
swords hitting their toned bodies with extreme force with their lanista shouting at them
sometimes hitting them with a long stick if they seemed tired our not trying. Training involved the
learning of a series of figures, which were broken down into various phases. There were

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If they were hit
they could actually be knocked out or even die from the blow of the weapon. Yet they managed
to graciously avoid all the weapons, it looked to me like what they were doing was near
impossible. Those who were not completing the assault courses were practicing forms of
fighting like boxing or kickboxing. These men looked exhausted and I couldn't imagine how they
would have enough energy left to fight the next day.…read more

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T he afternoon had come and with it the main event of the day. The first two gladiators to fight
ware Marcimus against the highest ranked gladiator in Nuceria. The huge doors opened and the
two gladiators entered the arena. Marcimus looked stronger than ever and he was applauded
with the roar of trumpets and horns with screaming fans. I was one of them. Both were oiled and
showing off their muscles, they strutted forth in order of the programme. Their names were
hailed.…read more

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