Munera Gladiatoria Semi-Finals ~ Ludi Conditorum 2761 (Nova Roma)
1:15 PM ~ Opening Coverage
Salvete omnes! This is M. Verus Paenula, and after a good lunch at one of our local cauponae, bringing you LIVE REPORTING from the Flavian Amphitheatre this afternoon for the Munera Gladiatoria Semi-Finals matches of the Conditorum!
The rain has stopped and many residents of the city have turned out for this afternoon’s events, as vendors are in every crack and corner around the Colosseum. While most people are walking to the festivities this afternoon, several horse- and mule-drawn wagons are making their way down the various streets into the central part of the city, bringing citizens from the outer villages around Rome.
There are several galleys that also have made their way up the Tiber and are currently docked at the Port Tibernius, shuttling people in to the city for the festivities this week. As we make our way into the Colosseum, we see several of our citizens entering the Amphitheatre, dressed in the favored colors of their Particular Ludus, primarily the Greens and the Blues. Both Praesinus and Venetus will dominate the two Semi-Finals Matches today, but the fans of the other teams are here as well.
1:30 PM ~ Live Interviews
As we enter, we are directed to a special room inside the Colosseum, where we find the sponsors of the gladiators of today’s matches. These citizens have been honored with a special pre-game reception by Quaestor Vitellius. Gaia Aurelia Falco Silvana, sponsor of the Retiarius, Aghila “the Leopard,” is talking with L. Rutilius Minervalis about yesterday’s competitions. Let’s ask them how they rated the events and what we may expect in today’s action.
Gaia Aurelia finishes her honeyed fig, then advises:
“Aghila performed outstandingly yesterday, and we hope that he will display the same type of performance for the fans today! We can only hope that he will continue to remain one of Praesinus’ best competitors. As far as Sarmatus, he is expected to perform as bravely and skillfully as he did in yesterday’s match. Both are valuable assets to the Ludus Praesinus, and by the will of the Gods, will be remembered for their exceptional performances during this Anniversary Year.”
Turning to Minervalis, who attended a special ritus with his Hoplomachus, Heracleus, honoring the goddess Minerva at a special cella within the Colosseum a short while ago, we inquire about his entry. He had this to say:
“Heracleus is ready. He has rested and been evaluated by the Ludus Venetus’ medicus and had been ruled in top shape for his match today. Yesterday, he performed magnificently, which was common in his previous matches in Praeneste, where he is a veteran of the arena. With his spear and his reflexes sharpened, he is ready for anything that he may encounter on the sand.”
We move now to Quintus Vitellius Triarius Vopiscus, patron of the Murmillo from Hispania, Arthmail Ansgar. Vopiscus shares this with us:
“Arthmail comes from a long line of gladiators in Hispania. He is not a criminal, nor a slave, but a member of the cohors of volunteer gladiators, the auctorartii, at the Ludus Venetus. A previous fighter in Hispania, he traveled here with his brothers and cousins to enter the arena on a professional level. After the death of his brother in the arena, many have urged him to retire from the sport and seek a career. After fighting in the arena, he often replies that nothing else would hold his attention. He is a professional fighter, and that, like yesterday, is what you can expect to see again this day on the sand.
We leave now to make our way into the stands in preparation of the matches, scheduled to start shortly.
1:45 PM ~ Opening Ceremony
As the opening processional enters the arena, the guest musicians again lead the cast of today’s performances into the arena. Behind the musicians comes the Praefectus Fabrum of Legio V Alaudae, the guest inspector of the weapons in today’s matches. Next, comes the magistrate corps: the Curule Aediles, P. Memmius Albucius and Sex. Lucilius Tutor, 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 Semi-Finals, and the crowd, filled with excitement, signals their approval:
First is Aghila the Retarius, followed by Sarmatus the Secutor, both sponsored by Gaia Aurelia Falco Silvana. Next comes Heracleus the Hoplomachus, sponsored by L. Rutilius Minervalis, then Arthmail Ansgar the Murmillo, 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 signals his approval that they are “probatio armorum” to the officials. The Consules, now seated, await the start of the games, while Quaestor Vitellius prepares to start the first match.
Scriba Crispus is announcing the rules of the matches to the contestants, and Scribae Lentulus and 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.
Scriba Crispus makes the opening announcements:
“We welcome you to today’s matches…the Semi-Finals of the Conditorum! The refreshments today are provided to Citizens as follows: Wine is provided by the Caelian 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 Games will begin today with the first match between Aghira the Retarius 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 ~ Semi-Finals Match I
As the mappa falls, the gates are opened and the gladiators enter the arena. As the combatants enter the field, the crowd chants… “Aghira! Aghira! Aghira!” on one side of the arena and “Hail, Arthmail!” on the other. Both contestants are veteran fighters, thus they make no premature or inexperienced moves towards the other. The Retiarius waves his net about, while carefully preparing his sharpened trident for any unexpected action. The Murmillo moves about not allowing Aghila to block him in or lead him into a trap in any way. Stalking his prey like a leopard, the Retiarius slowly encircles the Murmillo. The sand under his feet reminds him of home, and he recalls in his mind his training. Ansgar observes this momentary loss of attention by the Retiarius, but waits for the opportune time to strike. Each just creeps slowly round and round, and a deep silence falls over the crowd. Suddenly, the Retiarius launches his net. He misses, then throws again.
After several failed attempts, Aghira realizes that the Murmillo is too quick to catch by net alone. The Murmillo, quick to react to Aghira’s advances, displays an unmatched dexterity, despite his armoured limitations. The Murmillo patiently waits until the Retiarius casts his net again, and as he is drawing the next back for another attack, Ansgar makes his move. The Murmillo now decides to initiate his attack and charges the Retiarius unexpectedly, knocking him to the ground before he can launch his net. Ansgar delivers a forceful blow downwards with his gladius, but it is deflected by the Retiarius’ trident. He attempts several more times to mince the Retiarius, but Aghira avoids his assaults at each attempt with much skill. The Retiarius manages to get back on his feet, and in an attempt to cast his net, becomes entangled in it. Forcefully trying to free himself from his self-imposed restraints, he falls and is on his back, when the Murmillo advances to avenge the death of his brother and strikes at the Retiarius’ neck.
With utmost speed the Retiarius blocks the blow with the shaft of his trident, pushing the net up and into the path of the gladius. The Murmillo’s gladius become interwoven into the net, and Ansgar yanks the blade skyward, cutting the net in several places. As the Retiarius scrambles to free himself, Ansgar places his foot on the chest of the Retiarius, points the sharpened tip to his chest, and bids him farewell. The Retiarius bids his victor a farewell and charges him to do his duty. With no fear of death in his eyes, Ansgar reaches down with his left hand and pulls Aghira to his feet! The crowd goes wild with excitement!! Ansgar has spared his adversary from death for his undeniable bravery in the face of imminent death!!! Quaestor Vitellius proclaims Ansgar the winner!
- 1st Place: Arthmail Ansgar, the Murmillo
- 2nd Place: Aghira, the Retiarius
As the combatants exit the sand, and the arena attendants make their preparations for the next match, the crowds begin to get up and move around the amphitheatre. The musicians step into the arena for the intermission and begin playing a favorite melody of the masses.
2:15 PM ~ Semi-Finals Match II
As the crowd again finds their seats, the musicians exit, everyone takes their places, and…there seems to be a problem in the stands?! It looks as if some of the fans have become disorderly and are throwing things down onto the sandy floor. Officials move quickly to investigate, only to find out that the trouble-makers are from Aghira’s own country, here on a diplomatic mission to Rome. Shocked by seeing their friend’s condition as a Retiarius, they offer insults in the language of the East, then are escorted back outside into the Plaza.
Quaestor Vitellius draws out the mappa again, waits, then drops the mappa and the match begins…
The Secutor begins with a “singular testudo” advance toward the Hoplmachus, gladius pointed forward. As he gets within striking range, Heracleus jabs his spear towards his enemy, striking the Secutor’s shield, but deflecting off to the right side. The Secutor backs off to re-think and re-group. The Hoplomachus follows him around the arena making spear thrusts into the Secutor’s scutum, while the Secutor attempts to prevent the scutum’s mass destruction. The Secutor attempts to slay his opponent, but this does not work. Heracleus is enormous, and his height advantage plays a big role in the Secutor’s lack of success.
In a flash Sarmatus jumps to his feet and takes an aggressive stance, pivoting to keep the Hoplomachus’ spear point in a direct frontal position to his scutum. Again, the Hoplomachus thrusts his deadly spear toward Sarmatus, who deflects the impact to his side. Heracleus notices that Sarmatus is tiring quickly, and waits for the favoured moment. The Secutor stumbles, but recovers quickly! Heracleus sees his moment and make a full lung forward, embedding the tip of his spear into the Secutor’s shield.
Anticipating the attack, Sarmatus is ready, and upon impact, drops the scutum, which allows the Hoplomachus to go flying by his side and onto the ground! Sarmatus immediately places his gladius at the base of the rear part of Heracleus’ neck, who is lying face-down in the sand. The spectators jump up out of their seats and cheer with a deafening thunder. The Secutor has defeated his opponent in a most unexpected way!
- 1st Place: Sarmatus, the Secutor
- 2nd Place: Heracleus, the Hoplomachus
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 announces the winners who are to advance to the Finals matches in three days:
- Arthmail Ansgar the Murmillo of Ludus Venetus, sponsored by Quintus Vitellius Triarus Vopiscus
- Sarmatus the Secutor of Ludus Praesinus, sponsored by Gaia Aurelia Falco Silvana
Many of the spectators are leaving the Colosseum now to attend the Praesinus and Venetus banquets to be held at the various Ludus facilities and at special, private sites all around the city, as well as the Ludi Circenses, being held at 5:00 PM in the Circus Maximus!
This is M. Verus Paenula, bringing you LIVE REPORTING from the Flavian Amphitheatre and we will see you here again three days from now on the a.d. V Non. Mar. for the Munera Gladiatoria Finals match of the Conditorum!
We now will be moving our coverage to the Circus Maximus, where the Ludi Cricenses Quarter-Finals will be taking place shortly. See you there later this afternoon!
Di vos incolumes custodiant!