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attention should first be called to the two reliefs 1 from sarcophagi (figs. 44, 45). In the one a race is represented as in progress: four charioteers are driving bigae (two-horse chariots), the horses galloping in confused order, and on the far side of each is a mounted horseman. In the background is shown the spina or central rib of the circus, on which stand various objects, a pair

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of metae or obelisks marking the turning-point, and columns surmounted by eggs and dolphins, which probably served in some way to indicate the progress of the race. In the other (fig. 45) we see the row of carceres or barriers with folding-doors from which the chariots started; the competitors in this instance are represented by Cupids driving pairs of hounds in chariots. A sort of bird's-eye view of the whole circus, with a race in progress, is

i Cat. of Sculpt., III., 2318, 2319.

given on the lamp (No. 139 ; fig. 46), on which we see on one side the carceres, on the other a stand with rows of spectators, while in the lower part of the design is the spina crowded with various structures as in the relief described above. In the middle of the scene are four four-horse chariots racing at full speed. Not less instructive is the scene on the terracotta relief (No. 137), though only one chariot is here represented (fig. 43, above). Two lamps (Nos. 140, 141) illustrate respectively the return of a victorious horse (fig. 47) and a victorious four-horse chariot, accompanied by men bearing palm-branches and a tablet probably inscribed with the name of the successful competitor.

(136) Cat. of Vases, II., B 144; (137) Cat. of Terracottas, D 627. For the circus in general, see Daremberg et Saglio, s.v.


(Wall-Case 109.)

GLADIATORIAL combats were not native to Rome, but bad long been known in Etruria as an adjunct to funeral ceremonies, and were probably introduced thence into Rome by way of Campania, where the amphitheatre of Pompeii is the oldest in existence. The first show of gladiators at Rome took place in 264 B.C., but only three pairs of combatants were engaged in it. In course of time the number of gladiators increased, and such contests were given with greater frequency, although they remained a mere accompaniment of funeral ceremonies until 105 B.C., in which year they were for the first time offered as official amusements to the people. Men of high intellect like Marcus Aurelius (reigned 161-180 A.D.) might oppose or at least show no favour to the arena, but the mob of Rome and the majority of even educated Romans not only saw no moral objection to gladiatorial shows, but had a passionate enthusiasm for them. It was inevitable that the results of Christianity should be sooner or later to make such exhibitions impossible, but its influence was slow. Nearly a century had passed since the Emperor Constantine had given Christianity official recognition as a state religion when Honorius put an end to the exhibition of gladiators in Rome (404 A.D.).

In Greece proper gladiatorial games never took firm root, but throughout the rest of the Roman world they ecame almost a

necessity of existence. Even to-day there is scarcely a province of the former Empire without the remains of one or more amphitheatres ; these are often of immense size. At Nîmes, for instance, in Southern France, is an amphitheatre inferior only to the Colosseum at Rome and to the amphitheatre at Verona. It holds many thousands, and is still used for the mild form of bull-fight popular in the Rhone Valley. The Flavian amphitheatre or Colosseum (the latter name is of mediaeval origin), perhaps the most impressively Roman of all ancient buildings, was begun by the

Emperor Vespasian and completed by his son Titus in 80 A.D. Exaggerated estimates have been made of the number of spectators which the building could have held, but it is probable that 50,000 was the largest possible audience. Next to Rome, Verona could boast the largest amphitheatre, a building of the third century of our era, which could seat 20,000 persons.

Gladiatorial spectacles were given either by the State or by private

persons ; but in Rome it Fig. 48.- DEFEATED GLADIATOR APPEALING FOR MERCY. Diam. 3} in.

became more and more

the practice for the Emperor to provide these entertainments and to spare no expense in the production. Augustus thought that the eight shows given by him during his reign (31 B.C.-14 A.D.) were worthy of mention in the official record of his Imperial acts, and boasts that 10,000 men took part in them. His successors surpassed him; and no fewer than 10,000 men are said to have been employed in a single show given by Trajan in 107 A.D. to celebrate his .conquest of Dacia. Schools for gladiators were maintained in Rome, some close to the Colosseum, and at Pompeii a gladiators' barrack has been laid bare, with a large open space for exercise.


The serious combats in the arena were announced by a procession and a preliminary fight with the weapons used in practice. This mock struggle excited the men, and made them ready for the terrible trial of skill which followed. Lots were drawn, and the combatants arranged in pairs, but sometimes mêlées were planned, in which large numbers were engaged. It was possible for a man to draw a bye, and so to fight only with the winner of a previous round; probably, however, a gladiator seldom fought more than two fights in a single day.



A. fight might end in three ways: (1) the better gladiator might kill his adversary in the heat of the fray; (2) the vanquished gladiator might lay down his arms and raise his left hand as a sign of defeat and a prayer for mercy. One is so depicted on a lamp (fig. 48), where the treatment of the subject is evidently intended to be humorous, from the attitude of the beaten man, who cowers down with right hand on the back of his thigh as if he had been stabbed in that unlikely place, and hastily jerks up his left thumb to prevent further attacks from his opponent. It rested officially with the giver of the spectacle to grant or refuse the defeated man's request, but the matter was really decided by the spectators, who expressed their desire that he should be spared by shouting“ discharged” (missum), waving a piece of cloth in the air, or raising the left hand. The opposite decision was expressed by pointing the thumb downwards and shouting “slay” (jugula). (3) If two men fought on equal terms and displayed great courage, they might both be discharged before the combat reached a definite result (stantes missi). The victor, when finally discharged from service in the arena, was presented with a

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wooden sword (rudis), similar to those used in practice, as a sign that he had fought his last serious fight. Horace alludes to this in his Epistles, when asking Maecenas if he may retire from his service.

Gladiators were divided into classes according to their equipment and mode of fighting. The following were the most important :-(1) The Samnite (fig. 49), who wore a helmet with high crest, one or sometimes two greaves, and carried an oblong shield. (2) The retiarius or net-thrower (fig. 50), who carried a trident, a dagger, and a large net in which he tried to envelop his adversary. The net-thrower was matched against a gladiator

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