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Rare Ancient Statue Depicts **** Female Gladiator

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Major Weatherly
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« on: December 29, 2012, 10:34:09 pm »

 The female fighter is looking down at the ground, presumably at her fallen opponent.

The "precise real-life" details of the statue suggest the depiction was inspired by an actual person, a real woman who fought, Manas told LiveScience in an interview. [Photos: Gladiators of the Roman Empire]

It’s not known where the statue was originally found, though it is currently in the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbein Hamburg, Germany. 

The rarity of such statues likely reflects the idea that female gladiators in ancient Rome were scarce. They were banned by Emperor Septimius Severus in A.D. 200 with only about a dozen references to them in ancient writing surviving to present day. The only other known depiction of them is a carved relieffrom the site of Halicarnassus (now in the British Museum) that shows two female gladiators fighting. There have been claims made in the past of burials of female gladiators being uncovered, but none has attracted widespread support among scholars. 

Identifying the gladiator

Scholars had initially suggested the statue represented a female athlete scraping herself with a strigil (a cleaning implement that can look similar to a sword). However, Manas noted several aspects of the artifact to suggest it instead represented a female gladiator.

One was the woman's stance. It would make little sense for an athlete to raise a cleaning instrument high in the air while looking down at the ground.However, raising a sword into the air was a common victory pose among ancient gladiators.

In addition, female athletes in the Roman world did not go completely ****, as they would wear a bikini or "a tunic that left one breast exposed," Manas pointed out. "In any case, female athletes never performed with bare breasts,” at least not with both exposed. Gladiators, on the other hand, tended to be slaves or people of low social status; depicting them **** would have been considered more acceptable. The bandage the woman is wearing on her knee is also a common feature of gladiators. [Roman Gladiator's Gravestone Reveals Fatal Foul]
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