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Hunting was staged in Roman arenas

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Roman animals
Roman animals

Hunting was staged in the amphitheater arenas, where a tunic warrior stood in front of a wild animal, armed only with a sword or spear. Sometimes he was accompanied by a venator equipped with a bow, whip or spear, which he often fought for money or glory.

Various animals appeared in the arena during hunting: hyenas, elephants, wild oxen, buffaloes, lynxes, giraffes, ostriches, deer, antelopes, zebras or hares.

The first such hunt (venatio) was organized by Marcus Fulvius Nobilior , consul of 189 BCE in Circus Maximus in 186 BCE, on the occasion of Rome’s capture of Etholia in Greece. To this day, we can see with our own eyes the underground passages in the Colosseum and other amphitheaters, which were once used to bring animals to the arena.

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

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