Munera Gladiatoria Finals ~ Ludi Conditorum 2761 (Nova Roma)
Salvete omnes! This is M. Verus Paenula of the Aedilician Network bringing you live coverage of the conclusion of the Munera Gladiatoria events of the Ludi Conditorum!
We are here at the Flavian Amphitheatre this afternoon for the Munera Gladiatoria Finals match! A battle for Victory between Ludus Praesinus and Ludus Venetus. The weather is just absolutely beautiful and sunny, the temperature a comfortable 59°F (15°C), and the Greens and Blues have come out in force for today’s main event at the Colosseum.
Today’s Finals match is unique in that it features a Murmillo versus a Secutor. Essentially the same type of gladiator and apparently equally matched from our sources inside the Colosseum. This match should turn out to prove to be a good one!
Vendors who have come out for the day’s festivities are experiencing a large number of patrons, and we are going to speak with one of these vendors now. This is Gaius and Lucius Calpurnius, who are olive vendors and have traveled here from Messana in Sicily to profit from the week’s events here in the city. Lucius, can you tell us about the crowds this week.
Lucius states, “The crowds have been good, except for yesterday, the day being Dies Ater. Earlier in the week the rains slowed business some, but today has made up for any losses. We expect good business the next three days.
Gaius, can you tell us a little bit about the gladiator’s diet?
Gaius spits out an olive pit and says, “Yes, the gladiator must have olives…and lots of them! Those who want to be gladiators must also eat lots of olives! As well as their familia and friends!”
Gaius, what kind of olives are you currently selling? I mean, if I were to pursue a new career as a gladiator, what would you recommend?
Gaius scratches his head and says, “You can eat any type you wish. We have them all! We have the classic Greek brine cured Kalamata olive, which has a deep purple color and a fruity flavor. Moroccan salt/oil cured olives, which have a wrinkly exterior and a very tart, salty flavor are also some of our good sellers. We also have another type of salt cured olive, the Nyons olive, from Gallia. In addition to Nyons olives, we also have te Gallic Nicoise olives, which are small and extremely tart. As well, we sell some other more unusual types of olives, including the Spanish sherry cured Empeltre, along with Lugano olives, a salt cured variety from here on the Italian Penninsula. Some of our olives are cured and packed with herbs, such as the Toscanelle olive. We can also sell you the Italian Cerignola olives, which are a sweet olive in both green and black incarnations. In addition to the Manzanilla, many customers enjoy Sicilian olives, which are cured in brine and herbs, and frequently stuffed with other pickled vegetables. You might also try the green olive equivalent to the Kalamata, the Naphlion, a brine cured Greek olive, or the Gallic Picholine olives, which are cured in salt brine, resulting in a rich salty flavor. The choice is yours!”
Thank you Gaius and Lucius for that information and good luck with sales!
We are going to take a short break here at the vendors’ olive cart to sample the goods, then meet you inside in few minutes.
As we make our way onto the terraces, we see Censor Modianus with several members of the priesthood discussing a recent vision by Sacerdos Diana Aventina, concerning Venus and Concordia, which has alarmed some cives as the CP has issued some interesting decisions in the past weeks. As the crowds fill the seats, the opening ceremony begins…
Banners waving and snapping sharply in the cool, afternoon breeze, the opening processional enters the arena. On the top of the Colosseum, velaria have been extended to shade spectators from the bright sun this afternoon. The sun is shining through the different colored screen, casting an absolutely beautiful glowing rainbow of colors down onto the sand! The musicians come into the arena, playing with a triumphant beat, leading in the cast of today’s performances into the arena. Behind the musicians comes the Praefectus Gladitorius M. Cassius Phillipus of the Sodalitas Militarium and the guest inspector of the weapons in today’s matches. Next, come the magistrate corps: the Curule Aedile Sex. Lucilius Tutor (P. Memmius Albucius has been temporarily dispatched for a few days to Gallia to speak with colleagues there), followed by Quaestors L. Vitellius Triarius and M. Hortensia Maior and the Aedilian cohors. Behind them come the Consules, M. Moravius Piscinus Horatianus and T. Iulius Sabinus.
Behind the Consules come the Gladiators of the Finals and their Lanistae, and the crowd, filled with excitement, signals their approval:
First is Sarmatus the Secutor of Ludus Praesinus, sponsored by Gaia Aurelia Falco Silvana. Next comes Arthmail Ansgar the Murmillo of Ludus Venetus, sponsored by Q. Vitellius Triarus Vopiscus.
As the musicians make a circle around the arena, then find their appointed seats, the Praefectus finishes his inspection of the weapons and requests that one of the gladii be replaced. The attendants are shown that the gladius’ hilt has been cracked. With the replacement inspected, the Praefectus now signals his approval to the officials that all the weapons are “probatio armorum.” The Consules, now seated, await the start of the games, while Quaestor Vitellius prepares to start the match.
Scriba Crispus is announcing the rules of the matches to the contestants, and Scribae Poplicola are going over the last minute details and any changes before the start of the matches. Quaestor Hortensia is checking with each Lanista to ensure the participants are properly registered with their respective Ludus, while the crowds continue to move in and find seats.
Sacerdos et Scriba Lentulus offers a special ceremony to Fides, Concordia et Mars in preparation of the opening of the match, then makes the opening announcements:
“Citizens, we welcome you all to today’s match…the Finals of the Conditorum! The refreshments today are provided to Citizens as follows: Wine is provided by the Heculanum Guild of Wine Makers and cakes are provided by the Lower Aventine Guild of Bakers. The Lower Aventine Guild of Bakers uses only the finest Roman grain. The Match will begin momentarily between Sarmatus the Secutor of Ludus Praesinus and Arthmail Ansgar the Murmillo of Ludus Venetus.”
Quaestor Vitellius stands up, faces the Consules, who signal their approval for the games to begin, then turns to face the arena. He pulls the mappa from inside his toga, slowly raises his right arm, the crowd waits impatiently, and then the mappa falls…
2:00 PM ~ Finals Match
As the mappa falls, the gates are opened and the gladiators enter the arena. As the combatants enter the field, the crowd chants… “Sarmatia!” on one side of the arena and “Hail, Arthmail!” on the other. The combatants are equally match and are both of the same basic type of gladiator, fighting basically in the same style. Both contestants are veteran fighters, and skilled in the tactics of the Legionarii. They both understand this match is more a match of wits than skill. They make no premature or inexperienced moves towards the other.
At once, the Secutor advances and engages the Murmillo! They exchange jabs and thrusts, but both equally block the other’s attacks with their scutum. After a brief exchange, both competitors back off and are now circling the arena opposite of each other. Again, the Secutor attempts a series of repeated thrusts towards the Murmillo, with no luck. Now, the Murmillo charges the Secutor, delivering a terrible bash with the scutum, which knocks the Secutor off his feet and to the ground!
The Murmillo wastes no time in executing a death blow, but it is repelled as the Secutor issues a groin kick, which causes the Murmillo to misdirect his blow to the right side of the Secutor. Back on his feet, the Sarmatian retreats some and prepares himself for the retaliation, which comes almost immediately. The Murmillo spins toward the Sarmatian and charges him. The two gladiatores impact and the Secutor’s scutum breaks in half.
Useless now, the Sarmation discards the broken shield, to which the Murmillo throws his to the side as well. Now, its gladius to gladius! They exchange blows, over and over, the Murmillo rapidly attacking the Secutor with every once of strength. The Secutor defends bravely, as he hopes the Murmillo will run out of energy soon. The Murmillo attempts a chest thrust, which the Secutor deflects and immediately returns a connecting blow to the Murmillo’s right arm. The Murmillo backs off and is bleeding profusely.
The Secutor readies for the oncoming advance. The Murmillo is forces to use the gladius in his left hand. He attacks the Sarmatian with precision and skill, but cannot enforce his will on the Secutor. The Secutor now begins to increase the intensity of his attacks and issues an erratic series of thrusts toward the Murmillo, which causes him some confusion in his defense. This momentary loss of judgment allows the Sarmatian to clip the Murmillo’s gladius, flipping it out of the Murmillo’s hands, into the air, up and over the Secutor, landing on the sand behind.
The Murmillo, now weaponless, yields to the Secutor! The crowds come out of their seats and pandemonium breaks loose on the terraces above! The cheering is deafening. The Lanista and officials of the Ludus Praesinus run out onto the sand and lift the Victor into the air, carrying him over to the awards ceremony. As the officials attempt to silence the crowd, several fights between the Greens and the Blues break out, but are effectively quelled by the area staff.
- VICTOR: Sarmatus, the Secutor of Ludus Praesinus
- 2nd Place: Arthmail Ansgar, the Murmillo of Ludus Venetus
2:30 PM ~ Closing Ceremony
As the officials clear the sand, the gladiators from today’s matches are saluted by the Aedilician Cohors, and Quaestor Vitellius honors the Victor of the Munera Gladiatoria of the Conditorum:
Quaestor Vitellius addresses the crowd:
Sarmatus the Secutor of Ludus Praesinus, sponsored by the veteran Gaia Aurelia Falco Silvana, has indeed performed spectacularly this afternoon. Out of the Sarmatian wilderness he came, originally to care for the magnificent breeding stock of Sarmatian horses of the Domus Aurelia Falco. Sarmatus, never surprised, fights with the cunning of the steppe wolf, and often looks as if he is hunting his opponent rather than simply fighting them. Fleet and fast as the horses of his homeland, at 20 years of age, he is nearly as powerful as the mighty bears for which his native land is famous. Now, no longer a novice of the arena, we declare him Victor!”
The crowd erupts into a deafening applause as Curule Aedile Lucilius presents him with a golden corona and Quaestor Hortensia presents Gaia Aurelia with a specially-engraved and gilded gladius Hispaniensis in honor of the 10th anniversary of the Respublica.
As the afternoon settles, many of the spectators are leaving the Colosseum now to attend the Ludi Circenses Semi-Finals about to begin in the Circus Maximus, around the southeastern side of the Palatine Hill. Ludus Praesinus officials announce a special banquet to be held in honor of the Victor at Ludus Praesinus after the Circenses.
This is M. Verus Paenula, bringing you LIVE REPORTING from the Flavian Amphitheatre and we will see you at the Circus Maximus for the Circenses Semi-Finals races of the Conditorum!
Di vos incolumes custodiant!