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No fight as gladiator

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Roman mosaic showing fight of gladiators
Roman mosaic showing fight of gladiators

Tabula Larinas was a senatorial decree of 19 CE that forbade sons, daughters, grandchildren and great-grandchildren from senators or equites to participate in gladiatorial fights if they are under 20 life.

The decision to issue such a decree was dictated by the growing interest among the upper classes in fighting in the arena. Young and wealthy Romans were looking for an escape from their boring life to the sand of the arena. It is possible that the decision was also due to financial problems and the desire to get rich.

During the reign of Octavian Augustus, this type of practice was abolished, and the punishment was infamy, i.e. loss of worship. This entailed the deprivation of most public rights, limitation of legal capacity, and deprivation of legal protection (e.g. torture could be used). In a legal sense, therefore, every gladiator (with very few exceptions) was on the margins of Roman society.

In 200 CE Emperor Septimius Severus completely forbade women to participate in combat. This was mainly because viewers mocked high-class women who fought in the arena. However, the edict was probably ineffective, as the later inscriptions still advertised the clashes of women. In practice, women’s fights could take place even until the 5th century CE.

  • Krystyna Stebnicka, Nie tylko w kisielu, "Historia Focus", 13.03.2010

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