History

Gladiator Fresco Unearthed In Italy’s Pompeii

According to a statement released this past  Friday by Italy’s ministry of culture, a fresco has been discovered in Pompeii, an ancient Roman city.  The fresco depicts a vivid scene, in which a victorious, armor-clad gladiator stands over his opponent, who is represented as wounded and gushing blood.

The scene, in striking blue, gold, and red, was uncovered in what many are saying was a tavern that is thought to have been frequented by gladiators.  Gladiators, as many may know, were made to fight prisoners, wild animals, and even at times, each other—all for the entertainment of the public.

Massimo Osanna, Pompeii’s director, stated:

“We do not know how this fight ended.  Gladiators were killed or shown mercy.”

Image: artnet News

The fresco features a fighter, believed to be a “Murmillo,” adorned in a wide-brimmed helmet complete with visor and plume.  In his left hand, he is gripping a large, rectangular shield aloft, and in his right hand, he is griping his short sword.

The shield of his defeated opponent, a “Thraex,” lies on the ground next to the “Murmillo.”  The “Thraex” suffers from several deep wounds and appears on the verge of collapse.  The “Thraex” is making a gesture with his hand, which many believe is the asking for mercy.

The fresco, measuring in at 1.12 meters by 1.5 meters,  was excavators believe to be a basement, as what appears to be imprints of stairs can be seen above the room.  As for the building itself, it was located not far from Regio V, the known barracks for gladiators.

The ruined city of Pompeii proves to be Italy’s second most popular tourist site in the entire country, just after Rome’s iconic Colosseum.  In 2018, Pompeii boasted more than 3.6 million visitors.

It is worth noting that last year, an inscription was uncovered in the ruined city, which proves that Mount Vesuvius destroyed it after October 17th, 79 AD, not earlier on August 24th, as previously believed.