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Tarraco Viva – Gladiators

Under the storm brewing skies of Tarragona,  Tarraco Viva continues its exploration of the Roman world and one of the most iconic event is the Munera Gladiatora, the fights of the Gladiators in ancient Rome.

Free your mind from all the features of modern Tarragona which frame the remains of the Roman Amphitheatre, and focus on the stones. As spectators take their seat, you can hear the echoes of chatter and excitement filling up the void of the arena. The Gladiators, realistically rendered by the Italian group Ars Dimicandi , one the most professional Gladiators re-enactment company in the world, flex their muscles in the tense wait before the demonstration starts.

This is not a lightweight spectacle as the attention to detail goes down to the smallest buckle with each armor and protective padding recreated with the same methods and fabrics of Roman times. These are not actors but antique martial art athletes, which prepare them selves  in silent concentration. The result of the blows are for anyone to see as the return, winner or defeated, under the shadow of the portal.  The bodies, bearing bruises and deep scratches are partly are partly protected by iron plates and thick felt padding, partly left exposed for greater flexibility. There was a great level of fairness in choosing a gladiator opponent, and both were matched for weakness and strength for a fairer duel.

Everything here is about attack and defense, the concave shields designed so that blows could be deflected and the smaller version which could be used against the opponent like an extended fist. The faith of the looser was decided by the public and, in case of death sentence, the defeated gladiator would take his own life by placing the tip of the sword at the base of his shoulder; with the help of the winner he would push the blade deep severing a vital artery and bleeding to death.

You can watch the Munera Gladiatora at Tarraco Viva at the following days and time:

18 May at 17:00 hrs

19 May at 10:30 hrs

25 May at 17:00 hrs

26 May at 10:30 hrsr

The demonstration are at the Roman Amphitheatre,  lasts for one hour and entry is €3

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