(Archäologischer Park Carnuntum – Römerstadt Carnuntum, Petronell-Carnuntum, Austria)

Keywords: fighting and training of the Gladiators in Carnuntum

Ever since the sensational discovery of the gladiator school (ludus) in 2011, Carnuntum has placed a major emphasis on the phenomenon of gladiator fights, reflected both in scientific activities and as well as in cultural mediation. In this process, different aspects vital to the life of gladiators continue to be explored: everyday life of members of a familia gladiatoria, training and nutrition, living situation and, finally, the combats (munera) themselves in which fighters had to prove their courage.
Similar to other ancient sites, a considerable number of findings from different archaeological features has surfaced near the remains of both amphitheatres and the above-mentioned ludus which clearly indicate gladiator activities in the Pannonian metropolis of 50.000 inhabitants: everyday objects, equipment, remains of equipment of arms, souvenirs and memorabilia. These objects all contribute to our idea of Carnuntum’s gladiator troop living in the environment of the amphitheatre.
In 2014, both coincidence and great enthusiasm shown by a small group of individuals brought forth the idea of establishing an own gladiator re-enactment troop. Only a few months later, our Familia Gladiatoria Carnuntina already consisted of 20 members. Contrary to other troops such as Armor Mortis from Xanten or the Familia Pulli Cornicinis founded by Marcus Junkelmann, female gladiatrices also stand their ground in the arena.
The troop boasts all combat genres, regular trainings during the winter months ensure physical fitness. The owner and trainer of the gladiator troop (lanista) monitors the fighters and keeps an eye on each gladiator’s gear while the mater castrorum provides meals during the competitions.
A public training in May 2015 served as a launchpad for our gladiators’ first combats before spectators. Later that same year, the Gladiator Festival hosted the first professional munus. Meanwhile, the troop has become increasingly in demand on a national and international level alike. Which impact has the historic evidence of a familia gladiatoria in Carnuntum had on the foundation of our own troop and which insights have we reaped from the first seasons?

Relevance conference | Relevance session:
Reusing the scientific data about Gladiators in Carnuntum and try to reenact nowadays.

Lifing history based on the archaeological and geophysical data in Carnuntum.

W. / Seren, S. (2012): Die Entdeckung der Gladiatorenschule in Carnuntum, Acta Carnuntina 2/1/2012, 4-1.
Scholz M. (2012): Eine Sensationelle Neuentdeckung, Acta Carnuntina 2/1/2012, 14-21.