Rome Colosseum Information Gladiators School The Ludus Magnus Official Private or Group guided Tours and Tickets to visit the Colosseum in Rome
Just behind the Colosseum, between Via Labicana and Via San Giovanni in Laterano, the great school of gladiators, the Ludus Magnus, are still visible. There must also have been other schools in the area, where gladiators of different specialties and origins found accommodation and trained: Ludus Matutinus, Ludus Dacicus, and Gallicus. Here the athletes lived in an actual prison regime and were subjected to an iron discipline based on rigid daily training. Built-in the Domitian period, the complex was characterized by an elliptical arena surrounded by steps (a part of it can still be seen) and by a series of lodgings. On the minor axis were the boxes for the authorities, who could observe the training from here. Among the buildings connected to the Ludus Magnus, there were the “Sanitarium”, the shelter for the wounded, the “Spoliarium”, which housed the corpses, the “Armamentarium”, the first “Castra Misenantium” and the “Summum Choragium” for stage machinery.
Rome Colosseum Information and Ludus Magnus GAMES AND SHOWS – Rome Colosseum Information
In Rome, circus games were born as rigidly codified ritual manifestations, intended for an audience composed not so much of human beings as of gods. The cultic significance of the oldest of these games, the horse races held in the Circus Maximus, is evidenced by the ceremony at the end of the competitions, during which the winner’s horse was sacrificed.
Rome Colosseum and Ludus Magnus | The development of the races began with the preparation of the crews, the “Factiones”, characterized by different colors. Many people were employed in the organization of the races, such as those ones in charge of controlling the drivers and animals and maintaining the wagons.
A court of judges, whose stage and located in the middle of one of the long sides of the circus, ensured proper conduct of the races and the application of the regulations. Before the start, while the public chatted and consumed drinks and donuts sold on the bleachers, teams remained hidden from the crowd’s curiosity, in isolation also aimed at avoiding the risk of possible damage. The show began with a procession in which magistrates who had offered the games, priests, musicians, buffoons, and acrobats paraded alongside the athletes. The bets between the spectators and the draw of the crews then began.
Rome Colosseum information and Ludus Magnus | The race, whose course varied between 4 and 6 kilometers, started from the Carceres, the starting gates. After a first stretch, in which overtaking was not allowed and which served as an alignment phase for the wagons, the clash and counting of the seven laps began (for this purpose, seven bronze eggs were progressively lowered, placed in the center of the circus, on the spine. ). The wagons were equipped with a sort of tilting brake, which pressed by the charioteer compresses the hub of the external wheel, allowing a more agile turn of the first goal. Along the return stretch, slightly downhill, spurred horses made the most of the slope and gained ground. The race ended after the finish line had been crossed seven times, placed in front of the judges’ box: the first of the crews to reach the finish line was greeted by the trumpet blast and the crowd’s enthusiasm. Even the origin of the theatrical representations had to be motivated by the intent to pay homage to the gods, a purpose achieved by the vast sacred processions of the beginnings, which during the third century BC. they were transformed into ludi scaenici, evolving from simple pantomimes to tragedies and comedies proper. The Greek influence must have been particularly felt in this phase, even if more typically preserved Italic and Latin peculiarities.
Rome Colosseum and Ludus Magnus | At the end of the Republican era, Rome still did not have stable buildings suitable for hosting the shows, setting up simple temporary wooden structures. Pompey built the first theater in 55 BC.. Despite the discontent of the old Romans, who tended to consider it a sign of weakness and decadence, it eventually had to be accepted as a sort of annex of a temple. On funeral ceremonies, other scenic games were also celebrated, through which gladiator fights were introduced to Rome, around 264 BC. These acquired such public favor that in 105 BC. They ended up being counted among the public spectacles. They spread rapidly, and over time they lost their original funerary meaning and reduced themselves to mere Spectacles .; they had the character of loyal clashes between gladiators, recruited among those sentenced to death or among escaped enslaved people or, again, among volunteers.
The ” Munera ” fights corresponded perfectly to the traditional concept of masculinity inherent in Roman society. The growing interest in the “Munera” led to a large organization governed by the “Leges Gladiatoriae”.
Rome Colosseum and Ludus Magnus | The magistrates in charge of setting up the games were first builders and praetors, then “Curatores appointed by the emperor himself. The “Lanista” took care of the training and maintenance of the gladiators by housing them in the Ludus (the largest was the Ludus Magnus, behind the Colosseum), a school-barracks in which they were subjected to strict discipline. Starting from the 2nd century BC, clashes between wild beasts, the Venationes, also became frequent; the populace was particularly fond of this exotic and particularly bloody spectacle. The emperor Constantine decreed the abolition of the Munera, although, in Rome, they continued until the mid-fifth century AD when Honorius definitively abolished them.
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