Venationes ~ Ludi Conditorum 2761 AUC (Nova Roma)
Enroll your animals/gladiators in the Venationes of the Flavian Amphitheatre! Animal entries are limited to dogs, goats, sheep, wolves. You may enter one animal and one gladiator, or two animals.
Entries must contain:
- (a) Your Roman name
- (b) Your entry's name
- (c) Type of animal/gladiator
- (d) Description/history of your entry
- (e) Type of tactics (1=Offensive, 2=Yourself, 3=Defensive)
- (f) Your Ludus (Ludus Albatus, Ludus Praesinus, Ludus Russatus, or Ludus Venetus).
DEADLINE FOR ENTRIES: Entries must be received NO LATER THAN February XXth.
Submit entries to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Venationes of the Conditorum
Salvete omnes! This is by M. Verus Paenula, bringing you LIVE REPORTING from the Ludus Praesinus and Flavian Amphitheatre this foggy morning in Roma for the Venationes matches of the Conditorum!
Some residents of the city have turned out for this morning’s events, and some have chosen not to venture out into the rain and fog. The officials in the Colosseum are reporting that it is just too wet to compete, but Ludus Praesinus has offered to present a special show with some of their new beasts. As we make our way from the Ludus Praesinus to the Colosseum, we will be interviewing the Ludus Praesinus veteran owner and sponsor, Gaia Aurelia Falco Silvana.
As we walk to this morning’s venue, Gaia Aurelia can you please tell us about the Ludus Praesinus competitors we will be seeing this cool, wet morning in the arena?
Gaia Aurelia adjusts her cloak and then states:
“Naturally, our Aghila we be on the sand to demonstrate his skills in his usual manner. He will be joined with two other special entries, which we hope will prove to be of the utmost quality in the arena.
“First, is Risa Victrix, a hyena, whose name means ”the Laughing Victor.” Risa Victrix is a female hyena, dominant in the group she was captured from. This animal's body is designed to withstand a fight and come out a winner. High shoulders and a thick, almost neckless front body give plenty of muscle mass to absorb injury without being fatal. The very thick neck makes it difficult for any big cat except the largest to make a successful grab for the throat. The hindquarters are very low, and attackers trying to strike the hyena with claws or horns will often miss the rump. Hyenas are also very short in the "wheelbase" from front to back. This gives them incredible maneuverability: Risa Victrix can stop and turn on a sestercius, then burst forward at top speed.
“Managing hyenas is difficult. In the wild, they have proven to be not scavengers, but master predators and pack-hunters. We favor females because they will fight harder than males, as if defending their young. And since the young are communally reared, we can lure a blooded hyena back into its cage by placing a few cubs into a separate section at the back of a larger cage.
“Our third entry is Kitai the Tiger. Kitai was a gift from a Persian trader, who claims this magnificent animal comes from a kingdom east and south of Persia, where it is called a "royal" tiger. Only a cub when it came to the stables of Domus Aurelia Falco, Kitai is now a handsome male of three years. He is still rapidly putting on mass, so he is always hungry. For these games he has had only water for four days. (Longer starvation not wise, because it makes the cats over-eager and prone to mistakes.) His paws are the size of dinner plates, and his fangs are the size of a man's finger. He currently weights just over 300 kilograms, large for his breed and a credit to his trainers.”
Thank you, Gaia Aurelia, for providing us with an inside look at these combatants, and we wish you the best of luck in both today’s special presentation, as well as the events to come in the other Ludi to follow this year.
As the arrive at the Colosseum, we part with Gaia Aurelia and make our way into the Flavian Amphitheatre as we can hear the musicians warming up for the opening processional into the arena.
As the opening processional enters the arena, the musicians play a special tune, the “Animula Vagula,” as they lead in the rest of today’s hoard of attendants for the matches. Following behind the musicians, we see Quaestor L. Vitellius Triarius, Editor of the games and inspector of the weapons to be uses in today’s matches. Next, come the attendants, followed by the Curule Aediles, P. Memmius Albucius and Sex. Lucilius Tutor. Behind them, Quaestor M. Hortensia Maior and the Aedilian cohors. Behind them come the Consules, M. Moravius Piscinus Horatianus and T. Iulius Sabinus.
Once the Magistrates have securely been escorted off the sand, in come the Lanista and servii of the Ludus Praesinus with today’s competitors. First is Aghila the Retarius, followed by special caged wagons displaying Kitai the Tiger and Risa Victrix the Hyena, both sponsored by Gaia Aurelia Falco Silvana. They are followed by their trainers and a special cohors of vexillarii, carrying the green banners of the Ludus Praesinus.
As the musicians parade around the arena, then find their seats, the Quaestor Vitellius inspects the weapons, then declares them “probatio armorum” as the officials take their assigned places. The Consules, now seated, await the start of these wet games, as it is beginning to drizzle light rain down onto the spectators assembled here today.
As Quaestor Vitellius prepares to start the first match, Scriba Poplicola is announcing the rules of the matches to the contestants, and Scribae Lentulus and Quaestor Hortensia are going over the last minute details and any changes before the start of the matches. Scriba Crispus is conferring with the arena staff to ensure the weather will not affect the upcoming program of events, and the crowds continue to move into higher tiers and attempt to find dryer seating.
Scriba Poplicola makes the opening announcements:
“Welcome to today’s special presentation…the Venationes of the Conditorum, sponsored by Ludus Praesinus! Warm muslum is provided today 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 in a few minutes with the first match featuring Aghila the Retarius, pitted against Medved, a large brown bear from Sarmatia.”
Quaestor Vitellius makes his way up into the first row, 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 for the match to begin, and then…the mappa falls…
11:00 AM ~ Venationes Match I
As the mappa falls, the gates are opened and Aghila the Retiarius runs onto the field looking for his opponent. Across the arena, the gates are opened and the large, brown bear comes lumbering out on to the sand. The bear snorts and continues his clumsy trot around the arena. The crowds watch with excitement as the bear stands up on its hind legs and bellows out a deafening roar! Aghila observes this and decides that this type of moment well suits his plan of attack. He methodically taunts the bear with his net.
The bear attempts to swat the net away, but is just not quick enough to match the Retiarius’ skill in retrieving the net. The Bear suddenly charges Aghila, but a criss-cross retreat confuses the bear and he stops momentarily. This give Aghila the opportunity once more to cast his net, which lands on the bear! The Bear quickly grabs the net with his huge, sharp claws and shreds it into pieces with what appears to be a snarling grin. He lets out another roar, then stands up, attempting to frighten his opponent. It does not work on the Retiarius, who seizes the moment to lunge forward, firmly planting his trident in the ground, as the bear falls back down, impaling himself on the trident’s tines.
Aghila backs off as the bear stands again, flailing around and finally ripping the trident out of his chest. The bear, not dead, but in no shape to fight, retreats from his adversary and the crowd. Aghila is proclaimed the winner, as the arena attendants manage the bear out of the arena and back to his cage to be medically treated for another day’s match.
- 1st Place: Aghila, the Retiarius
- 2nd Place: Medved, the Sarmatian Bear
As the combatants exit the sand, and the arena attendants make their preparations for the next match, and the crowds eagerly await the next series of events.
11:15 AM ~ Venationes Match II
The next match features Kitai the Tiger versus a wild boar. With the attendants ready to begin, Quaestor Vitellius draws out the mappa again, waits, then drops the mappa and the match begins…
As the spectators watch, the elevators are lifted up to the arena level and the attendants open the cages. The Tiger and the Boar come tearing out of their cages and evaluate each other. There seems to be a natural fear of the Boar, as the Boar begins to charge toward the Tiger, backing Kitai up against the wall of the arena. A few lucky fans above lean over the railing to get an up close and personal view of what a royal east-of-Persia tiger can do with its back to the wall.
The Boar repeatedly charges the Tiger, who slaps the beast on the side of the head every time it charges, knocking it over and making it dizzier and dizzier. Once the boar starts stumbling in circles, Kitai bowls it across the other side of the arena. Then with a sudden attack, the Tiger takes the wild boar by the back of the neck and tosses it a couple more times, so fans at both ends of the arena can see that it is finished. The crowd cheers as the Tiger, stalks the attendants for a few moments, then is lured into its cage and is returned below.
- 1st Place: Kitai, the Persian Tiger
- 2nd Place: The Wild Boar
11:30 AM ~ Venationes Match III
Now, Queastor Vitellius prepares for the last and final match, featuring Risa Victrix, a hyena, versus a lion from the plains of Numidia. The crowds wait, and then Quaestor Vitellius drops the mappa and the match begins…
Once again, the elevators are lifted and the beasts released into the arena. The hyena howls repeatedly and the lion roars, responding to the sounds of the crowd. The hyena takes no pause as he runs by the lion, causing the lion to pursue him around the arena. The hyena runs back and forth, dodging and reversing direction on the lion, causing the lion to irritated and impatient. The lion pursues the hyena again and again. This is the hyena’s goal…to tire the lion out by leading him around and around the arena. Finally, the lion lays down and observes the hyena. Risa Victrix now begins to sneak in close to the lion, then backs out again. Then again, the hyena attempts to close in, luring the lion into swatting at her.
After several attempts, the hyena dodging each swat, Risa Victrix makes her move and snaps at the tender paws of the lion. The lion dodges the first attack, but the second connects, crushing the lion’s foreleg bones in a single snap. The lion releases a deep roar and attempts to avoid the hyena as he limps off. The hyena makes her final assault, spinning around the limping lion and taking out the hind legs. The crowd stands and cheers the hyena as she is the Victor over the Rex of the Jungle…and she appears to be laughing!!!
- 1st Place: Risa Victrix, the “Laughing Victor” Hyena
- 2nd Place: The African Lion
11:45 AM ~ Closing Ceremony
As the officials clear the sand, the gladiator and beasts from today’s matches are saluted by the Aedilician Cohors, and Quaestor Vitellius announces the winners of the Venationes of the Conditorum. Special thanks is given to Gaia Aurelia Falco Silvana and Ludus Praesinus for providing a wonderful exhibition here in the Colosseum today! She is presented with three golden bowl, handcrafted by metal workers of the Guild of Blacksmiths in Ostia and engraved with animal hunting scenes.
As the Venationes celebrations come to an end, the spectators are leaving the Colosseum now to attend lunch. Everyone is reminded to return to the Flavian Amphitheatre today at 2:00 PM for more excitement from the arena!
This is M. Verus Paenula, bringing you LIVE REPORTING from the Flavian Amphitheatre and we will see you here again this afternoon for the Munera Gladiatoria Semi-Finals matches of the Conditorum!
Di vos incolumes custodiant!