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Priscus and Verus – clash of giants


Roman mosaic showing the victorious gladiator. The object dates to the 4th century CE

In 80 CE the construction of the largest amphitheater – the Colosseum – was completed. It was inaugurated by the Emperor Titus with the start of a hundred-day uninterrupted games. Martialis recalls that one of the highlights of the games was the fight between the gladiators Priscus and Verus.

They were both slaves; however Priscus – Gaul – was from a slave from birth once Verus lost his freedom. This fight is the only one described in such detail in history, and its course is presented in the BBC (2003).

The commitment and will to fight of both warriors was appreciated by the emperor, who unexpectedly recognized both winners and granted them freedom.

Sources

  • Martialis, De spectaculis, 29

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