Rome considers return of gladiators to Colosseum

December 20th, 2008 - 7:09 am ICT by IANS  

Rome, Dec 20 (DPA) Centuries after their blood-sport was banned, duelling gladiators in full combat gear could soon be making a comeback in the most famous fight arena of all - Rome’s Colosseum.”Rather than enshrine (historical sites) we need to make them more spectacular,” says the Italian capital’s archaeological superintendent Umberto Broccoli, whose brainchild the idea is.

More than 1,500 years since the last recorded gladiator bout in Rome, it is still possible to meet near the Colosseum, men - and some women too - clad in armour and brandishing replica swords and spears.

These modern-day versions of the ancient warriors mostly engage in persuading tourists to pose with them for souvenir snapshots, counting the change of the fees they charge for this, or conversing on their mobile phones.

But Broccoli has a different vision, “one that is not so vulgar, even if we shouldn’t fear vulgarity, in narrating the lives of those who lived in ancient times,” he told Rome’s daily La Repubblica in an interview published Friday.

If his plan is approved by the city authorities, it will involve setting up of a stage inside the Flavian Amphitheatre - the Colosseum’s ancient name.

Then during shows, possibly held in the evening, gladiators would engage in realistically choreographed mock battles, accompanied by readings from the works of Latin poets such as Seneca, Broccoli said.

Welcoming the superintendent’s proposal is Sergio Iacomoni, president of a group that runs a gladiator school near Rome.

“We’ve got everything: the history, the spectacle, the weapons, the costumes, the combat and the competition - all except for the violence,” Iacomoni said about the courses taught at the school.

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