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Damnatio ad bestias

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Damnatio ad bestias
Damnatio ad bestias

In Rome, there were a phenomenon of throwing wild animals to be eaten (damnatio ad bestias) convicts. This form of execution was used to entertain the crowd.

For this purpose, various animals were brought to Italy from the most distant corners of the Empire, including: lions, bears, leopards, Caspian tigers, black panthers, and bulls.

In ancient Rome, there were professional trainers of wild animals, who were to properly prepare animals to fight convicts, incite aggression in them and encourage them to eat human flesh. Sometimes hunts/fights were played in the arena where the beast was faced by a tunic warrior, armed only with a sword or spears. Often, however, the stripped offender was tied to a column and left defenceless.

More about torture in ancient Rome

  • Kyle Donald G., Spectacles of Death in Ancient Rome, 1998

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