Friday, December 19, 2008

In the Roman Empire

I have already touched the gladiatrix subject here. It is not my preferred cup of tea since I abhor the gore side of fights with swords, spears and other white weapons. But I have to confess it has some appeal to me; after all, it should have been the first time in history that events of female fighting with spectators were organized. So there go a few lines and images on the subject.

First, the facts behind the legend. Today, it seems beyond much doubt that those fights between women really took place in the ancient Roman Empire. An interesting documentary can be downloaded here where evidences are discussed and some theatrical representation is enacted.

Then the fiction. One of the things I can appreciate in the gladiatrix arena (literally) is the imagery of these warriors in many contexts. The slide show below has a sample of what has been done in this regard since old times. An huge variation in style and approach from artists along the time is what one can see in these thirty and something pictures. Some are movie shots, including the one starred by Pam Grier, already mentioned here.



  1. I've never been into the weapons part of this either but years ago saw a painting of two women dueling with swords that I found pretty erotic. It was taking place in a field , both women were bare breasted and wearing those long, formal dresses of the time period. There were their 'seconds' and a guy watching. I think what I found appealing about it was knowing the pre-arranged agreement to meet for the fight.

    Since , I've seen two movie clips of female duels with swords that I really liked. One old black and white foreign film where a duel is declared at a formal party where the two remove their tops and use swords and another which was with famous actress Gina Lolabrigita as one of the duelists. This one took place in a country setting with a large crowd watching. This was on YouTube but has since been removed.

    That painting I'm referring to pops up now and then so if you should see it, it would be great see it posted here . I had it but it's locked in my old PC that died years ago.

  2. Thanks for your thoughtful comments. If I find this painting I will post it here (or if somebody else finds it, please, post it).

    This thing of sudden death of PCs is the curse that haunts all image collectors.