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The Retiarius in “me”
Mar 13, '20
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Memories

It is important to embrace the negative in your psyche for it make you whole. Own your “own” negativity! Get rid of the mental blockage and you become whole, aka ”slaying the dragon.”

“Her gaze seemed to penetrate the very depths of my soul. She was reading my mind like an open book. She knew I had been one of Boudicca’s tribal children, then a slave of Rome and finally ended up as a gladiator in the Coliseum. I was but a small child in 61AD when she died, but I still have a vivid memory of her imposing presence.”


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The Gladiator Mosaic

Is a famous mosaic of gladiators measuring about 28 meters, dated to the first half of the 4th century. It was discovered in 1834 on the Borghese estate at Torrenova, on the Via Casilina outside Rome. The antiquities which reinvigorated the Borghese Collection after it had shrunk following the sale of much of the collection to Napoleon I.

The name of each gladiator depicted is given in inscription next to the figure, with a ∅-shaped symbol (possibly the Greek letter Θ, theta nigrum, for θάνατος (dead) marking the names of gladiators who died in combat.

Inscription

Licentiosus/// Purpureus/ Entinus/ Baccibus// Astacius// Astacius/ Astivus ∅ // Iaculator/// Rodan ∅ // Melitio// Talamonius/ Aureus ∅ // Cupido ∅ / Bellerefons/// Pampineus// PI // Arius// Eliacer// Melea[ger(?)/// us vic(it) // Mazicinus/ Alumnus vic(it)// Ideus r(e)t(iarius)// Callimorfus/ Mazicinus// us vic(it)/ Callimorfus// Serpeneus// Sabatius

Astacius, Astivus, Rodan, Belleronfons, Cupido, Aurius, Alumnus, Serpeniius, Meliio, Mazicinus

Further Illumination

The Mosaic of the Gladiator, an early 4th-century work of art currently on display in Rome’s Borghese Gallery, lists the names of a series of fighters meant to go down in history: Astacius, Astivus, Rodan, Belleronfons, Cupido, Aurius, Alumnus, Serpeniius, Meliio, Mazicinus and many more…

Next to the sprawled and bloodied bodies of those who were killed, there is a small sign that looks like a zero but actually is the “Theta nigrum”, likely the initial of the Greek word “thanatos”, meaning “death”.


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Alumnus is portrayed in victory: he was one of the “retiarii”, the fast and agile gladiators who fought without covering their face, equipped with nets, tridents and daggers, winning over an adoring public and entering the secret dreams of countless women.

At his feet, Mazicinus lies in his own blood: he was a “secutor”, that is a “chaser” gladiator who fought with a helmet, shield and a short, curved sword known as “sica”.

Cicero

Cicero once wrote, “What gladiator of moderate reputation ever groaned, or lost countenance, or showed himself a coward, as he stood in combat, or even as he lay down to die? Or what one of them, when he had lain down and was ordered to receive the fatal stroke, ever drew his neck back?” (from “Tuscolanae disputationes”).

Then there’s Serpenius, a “bestiarius” gladiator, using his spear to strike a panther – one of the many wild animals that filled the amphitheater, the Roman Forum and the Circus Maximus for the people’s entertainment.

As Juvenal noted, “Here is a patrician specialized in hunting wild beasts. For these noblemen, reaching old age has become a miracle since Nero began forcing them to prove their bravery to the people by performing in the circus” (from “Saturae”).


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Did


Mar 13, '20
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