Dying in the Arena - Analyzing Skeletons of Roman gladiators P2 – With Dr Fabian Kanz (S01E06) image
S1 E6 · Archaeological Context
Dying in the Arena - Analyzing Skeletons of Roman gladiators P2 – With Dr Fabian Kanz (S01E06)
43 Plays
2 years ago

I grew up loving the film “gladiator” with Russel Crow and Joaquin Phoenix. And probably since the beginning of film, gladiators were an integral part of the display of ancient Rome. Take the figure of Spartacus for example; probably his first appearance on the screens was in an Italian silent movie from 1913, then came the masterpiece from Stanley Kubrick in 1960 or the more recent, the tv-series “Spartacus, Blood and Sand”. 

One mutual element these films have, are brutal displays of duels and dramatic deaths of gladiators in the arena. In the last episode we focused on how one became a gladiator and what their diet actually was. Now, let’s focus on the gritty stuff, the chances of surviving an encounter in the arena, injuries and finally, actual causes of death! Additionally, I tried to find out if there is also evidence for female gladiators. In order to investigate these questions, we turn to the gladiator graveyard in ancient Ephesus and continue our conversation with the researcher, who analyzed these excavated skeletons Dr. Fabian Kanz.


  • Lösch et al. (2014), Stable Isotope and Trace Element Studies on Gladiators and Contemporary Romans from Ephesus (Turkey, 2nd and 3rd Ct. AD) – Implications for Differences in Diet
  • Meller, Sampaolo (2013), Gladiator. Looking on death every day
  • Kanz, Grossschmidt (2009), Dying in the Arena: The Osseous Evidence from Ephesian Gladiators
  • Nossov (2009), Gladiator. Rome’s bloody spectacle
  • Ville (1981), La gladiature en Occident des origines à la mort de Domitien

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