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Students To Live Like Ancient Roman Gladiators

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the are-you-not-entertained dept.

Education 30

Twenty students from the University of Regensburg plan to live and train like Roman gladiators as part of a scientific research project this summer. The students will give up their usual fast food fare for the more traditional gladiator diet of berries and white beans. They'll also learn how to fight while wearing bronze armor, and showers, clean clothes or visits from a girlfriend won't be allowed during the project. From the article: "'We know hardly anything about the gladiators,' historian Josef Löffl said. 'There are a lot of myths and clichés attached.' Löffl and his colleagues plan to find out this August whether they can make modern young men into authentic gladiators following the Roman example."

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30 comments

WTF? (0)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#31659324)

visits from a girlfriend won't be allowed during the project I take it, then, that all the volunteers are gay?

Re:WTF? (4, Funny)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#31660250)

Or single. Or sacrafices are made, its no different then a girlfriend going to Grad school and not seeing her for a year. This is just a summer.

But, then again, Ancient Romans... err... well... You know how it is. When you live in a society that glorifies males as the superior sex, those kinds of things tend to happen. I wonder if these students will make a few discoveries this summer, and maybe not about history, but themselves.

Re:WTF? (2, Funny)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 4 years ago | (#31662588)

Behold, the man! The gladiator! The greatest champion to ever fight in this Colosseum! HOMOEROTICUS!

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31664788)

hey, you get what you can get

something is better than nothing

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31666262)

There are somethings I would rather pass.

Re:WTF? (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 4 years ago | (#31675430)

those who have been buggered find passing much easier. It's retention that sometimes is a problem

sounds like you've got a poor diet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31715564)

Sounds like you're eating too much rubbish and need to improve your diet. Cut down on all the burgers and fries and try eating fresh fruit and vegetables, five portions a day.

Re:WTF? (1)

CODiNE (27417) | more than 4 years ago | (#31714628)

Ya know I was going to post something insightful about "the color band" which was how they would pair up the soldiers in an actual gay relationship with the purpose of them falling in love. The idea being that in battle they would fight much harder to protect their partner.

I was going to... but Wikipedia doesn't seem to have the cite I need and I'm NOT gonna go googling gay soldiers and color bands!

Re:WTF? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31757898)

Faggots must die!

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31661298)

visits from a girlfriend won't be allowed during the project I take it, then, that all the volunteers are gay?

Not yet.

Re:WTF? (2, Insightful)

fyoder (857358) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661308)

visits from a girlfriend won't be allowed during the project I take it, then, that all the volunteers are gay?

Some maybe. The others will be receiving visits from wealthy senators' wives and nobility who bribe the keeper in order to get it on with a gladiator.

Re:WTF? (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#31676230)

Or drop by and purchase one so he can be killed.

Re:WTF? (2, Funny)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 4 years ago | (#31678896)

"I take it, then, that all the volunteers are gay?"

these are 20 guys training to be Roman gladiators, are you sure you want to call them "gay"?

You are right... (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 4 years ago | (#31679326)

these are 20 guys pretending to be Roman gladiators, are you sure you want to call them "gay"?

Pathetic would be more appropriate.

Re:You are right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31725048)

Gegen die Unwissenheit zu kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens

Re:WTF? (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | more than 4 years ago | (#31679658)

WTF?

visits from a girlfriend won't be allowed during the project

I take it, then, that all the volunteers are gay?

I'm not up on all of this week's acronymphomania. The WTF are a bunch of homosexual pseudo-wrestlers like the panda-molesters of the WWF and the preverts of the WWE ?
(I take the acronyms from a South Park episode I saw a year or so back. I think.)

Sneering at the "you grunt and I'll groan" brigade aside ... it sounds like it'll be an interesting piece of experimental archaeology.
And the bragging rights that the surviving students will have for future years ... big plus. I nearly envy them. The closest to practical archaeology I'll get in the foreseeable future will be a week in a peat bog on Skye. Joy!

Re:WTF? (1)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 4 years ago | (#31716784)

visits from a girlfriend won't be allowed during the project

Well, in ancient Rome the wealthy women came to have sex with gladiators because...well, largely because they could.

Maybe there's a reason girlfriends aren't allowed. Maybe it's like an episode of Cougar Country.

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31759710)

If it's anything like the TV series Spartacus, there will be lots of whores ;)

Yeah... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31667882)

...I'm sure it's just a total coincidence this comes right after a semi-fictional gladiator TV series airs and becomes a hit. Nothing like exploiting the attention of viewers, is there?

umm? (2, Funny)

qc_dk (734452) | more than 4 years ago | (#31685628)

The students will give up their usual fast food fare for the more traditional gladiator diet of berries and white beans. They'll also learn how to fight while wearing bronze armor, and showers, clean clothes or visits from a girlfriend won't be allowed during the project.

I'm a physics/computer science research assistant on a public grant, who does sabre fencing in his spare time. They can just come study me. I've been living like they describe for the last 5 years.

Also, why no showers? Didn't they have baths back then?

Re:umm? (1)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 4 years ago | (#31751868)

I'm a physics/computer science research assistant on a public grant, who does sabre fencing in his spare time. They can just come study me. I've been living like they describe for the last 5 years.

Except for the "in his spare time" part, exactly as they describe :P

And as a former fencer as well, since when is a cloth lamé equivalent to bronze armor?

Also, why no showers? Didn't they have baths back then?

Doesn't mean the gladiators themselves used them.

Going Milgram or Stanford Prison Experiment? (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 4 years ago | (#31687042)

Isn't anyone concerned that this might get out of control, and go Milgram or Stanford Prison Experiment? Like, as in they really start to think that they are gladiators, and start killing each other to win their freedom. These experiments always seem to end in tears . . .

. . . but maybe this is just part of the University of Regensburg admissions process . . . "You are a group of ten prospective gladiators. One of you will win an acceptance to the University. Fight well men, good luck, and Hail Cesar! "

. . . and you thought getting into Harvard, Princeton or Yale was tough . . .

Maybe this thing is going to be filmed as a "Big Brother" type series. Each week one of the participants is fed to the lions.

Them kids will watch anything these days.

Re:Going Milgram or Stanford Prison Experiment? (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 4 years ago | (#31691866)

I'm sure it will be just like The Wave [imdb.com] .

Pah, wusses. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31688492)

I notice it doesn't suggest that any of them are going to *die* like gladiators. It's not really living "like" a gladiator did if you know before you begin that you're not going to get maimed or killed at any moment.

Boring (1)

Aim Here (765712) | more than 4 years ago | (#31698782)

It's not news until we get to watch them die like ancient Roman gladiators.

Re:Boring (1)

Teancum (67324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31699152)

I've seen some glorification of gladiators, but this really is an important point. Each time a gladiator stepped into The Colosseum (or other gladiatorial arena), they had a 50/50 chance of never seeing the next day. Well, usually as there were exceptions. Also it is important to remember that many gladiators were also slaves where their choice was to participate or die in a simple execution where their families would get killed with them. If they participated as a gladiator, their families would (or might) be spared.

Christians typically were a favorite for cannon fodder provided to the gladiators too.

I really don't see how this experiment can genuinely capture the true essence of what it was like as a gladiator, including some of the comments listed above about how the wives of senators and patricians (Roman nobility) would likely have sex with these guys simply for the thrill of getting it on with a guy that might die the next day. This is blood sport taken to an extreme, where thousands of people would spend money as "recreation" to witness the death of somebody whose only crime is that they were in the wrong place at the wrong time or had philosophical differences of opinion from their own.

Re:Boring (2, Informative)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 4 years ago | (#31722364)

Each time a gladiator stepped into The Colosseum (or other gladiatorial arena), they had a 50/50 chance of never seeing the next day.

What utter rubbish. Learn some history. Gladiators were a very expensive commodity - especially the ones that made it to Rome. The whole "always fight to the death" concept is horribly wrong. A bought in the arena where a gladiator died was actually somewhat rare for the most part, short of a few incidents when emperors really wanted to wow the crowd. Did people get hurt and injured? Yes, did those injuries lead to death? Sometimes. Did gladiators actually kill one another on the arena floor? Rarely.

Re:Boring (1)

publiclurker (952615) | more than 4 years ago | (#31729432)

I don't know if I'd say rarely. I seem to recall that it was about a 1 in 8 chance of dying each time. And near the end, a majority of the gladiators were actually freemen who signed away their citizenship for a few years to be a gladiator and have a chance at wealth.

Romanes eunt domus (1)

laejoh (648921) | more than 4 years ago | (#31772538)

Pffff, what did the Romans ever do for us?

Only in Germany (1)

newdsfornerds (899401) | more than 4 years ago | (#31810618)

could this happen. Haven't they heard of SCA? Wouldn't that work just as well?
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