Gladiator Babes!

Butt-kicking female warriors are hardly a new concept. They’ve been around for centuries. Now, a recently discovered statue indicates women did battle all the way back in the ancient Roman Empire…as female gladiators.

Did Female Gladiators Exist?

Female warriors have long roots in history. Now, it appears we can trace those roots all the way back to female gladiators who lived during the ancient Roman empire. Here’s more on a recently uncovered female gladiator statue from Live Science:

A small bronze statue dating back nearly 2,000 years may be that of a female gladiator, a victorious one at that, suggests a new study.

If confirmed the statue would represent only the second depiction of a woman gladiator known to exist.

The gladiator statue shows a topless woman, wearing only a loincloth and a bandage around her left knee. Her hair is long, although neat, and in the air she raises what the researcher, Alfonso Manas of the University of Granada, believes is a sica, a short curved sword used by gladiators. The gesture she gives is a “salute to the people, to the crowd,” Manas said, an action done by victorious gladiators at the end of a fight…

(See Live Science for more on this new female gladiator statue)

A School…for Gladiators?

For centuries, gladiators entertained Roman audiences with life and death combat. But how did these warriors hone their craft? What was it like to attend a gladiator school?

Teaching Gladiators?

The exact origin of the gladiators and their games are unknown. However, its possible that they can be traced as far back as the 8th century BCE. For many years, they fought each other, wild animals, or condemned persons in front of the crowds of Rome. While some gladiators performed voluntarily, others were forced into it as slaves, Curiously, despite the vast public attention they received, most gladiators were despised and treated shabbily.

Recently, a team of archaeologists, historians, and geologists used ground-penetrating radar to reveal the ruins of an ancient gladiator school just outside Vienna, Austria. This school, the first of its kind to be discovered outside of Italy, was used to train gladiators in the art of hand-to-hand combat. So, what would it have been like to attend this school?

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

The school was a mixture of “barracks and a prison.” Inside its thick walls, 40 tiny sleeping quarters surrounded a central training ring. This ring covered about nineteen square meters, held a thick wooden post which may have been used for striking practice, and was surrounded by wooden seats. A large bathing center was located nearby. Further back, several buildings (possibly administrative in nature) towered over the facility. Archaeologists also believe that a cemetery lies outside the walls. In all likelihood, it was used to bury deceased “students.”

This school, which is located in a park called Carnuntum, was used to train gladiators and to determine their worth. For the lucky and highly-skilled, it represented a shot at fame and even freedom. But for most of the forced participants, there was no happy ending. The gladiator games peaked “between the 1st century BC and the 2nd century AD.” But they stayed around for much longer. The last known gladiator games took place toward the end of the 5th century AD.