#AncientSportTakeover: Have you ever thought about what it would be like to watch an event in a Roman amphitheatre? At the Arena de Nimes in southern France, this historical fantasy can be experienced! Despite often being overshadowed by its larger and more famous counterpart in Rome, the Arena de Nimes is the best preserved Roman amphitheatre in the world.
Originally constructed around 100 AD, the structure held around 24,000 spectators. The arena primarily held gladiator contested, that pitted two men agains each other for the entertainment of the spectators. In the Late Republic, when this arena was built, gladiators were often prisoners of war. They had no rights or privileges and were looked down on by the general populace. However, they could partially redeem themselves by winning duels and demonstrating great courage and skill. By the time the Arena de Nimes was constructed, gladiators had become increasingly professionalized. They were privately owned by Roman elites, who created gladiator schools where the fighters were trained extensively in combat. They were also provided healthy good and medical attention in order to perform at a high level. This professionalization also led to purposefully arranged match-ups. Spectates wanted to observe an even and skilled duel the mirrored the militaristic nature of Roman society and promoted the values of glory and virtue that Romans association with battle. Despite the increasing reverence for gladiators, they were always stigmatized as outsiders.
To see the amphitheatre in action, visitors can go see concerts and bullfighting, which occur every spring and summer. Once a year, the amphitheatre also hosts Roman games, which re-enact the spectacle of ancient sport. Around 2,000 years after its construction, the Amphitheatre de Nimes continues to provide a venue for the entertainment of the masses.
This Instagram post has been brought to you by Braeden Allison, one of the students in CLAS 2P40 studying ancient sport and spectacle in the Greco-Roman world.
Image: Wikimedia Commons
#brocku #brockuniversity #ancientsport #instagramtakeover #amphitheatredenimes #nimes #gladiators #arenadenimes