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Gladiatorial marble reliefs recovered
#1
The following news stood today on the Yahoo Anthropology & Archaeology site:

Ancient Roman marble reliefs depicting gladiators in combat are presented to the press in Rome, Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2007. Italian police have unearthed the hidden cache of a group of grave robbers, recovering 12 marble reliefs. The 12 panels, believed to date back to the 1st century B.C. were found buried in the garden of a private home near Fiano Romano, some 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of Rome.

[Image: capt.pl10101241418.italy_gladiators_pl101.jpg]

For the whole news, click Here

The relief is very nice and well preserved i must say! Big Grin
Mike van der Linden

You are not a busy man, you make of yourself a busy man.....
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#2
Nice one Mike (I cleaned up your link). A laudes for you.
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#3
More, from MSNBC:

Quote:By Ariel David
ROME - Italian police have unearthed the hidden cache of a group of grave robbers, recovering ancient Roman marble reliefs depicting stunningly lifelike gladiators locked in mortal combat, officials said Wednesday.

The 12 panels were found buried in the garden of a private home near Fiano Romano, 25 miles (40 kilometers) north of Rome, and officials hailed the recovery as a major archaeological find and a blow to the illegal antiquities market.

The reliefs date to the late 1st century B.C. and are believed to have decorated a tomb, still to be located, in the nearby Roman settlement of Lucus Feroniae, said Anna Maria Moretti, superintendent for antiquities in the area north of Rome.

The pieces, made of high-quality Carrara marble, are notable for their size and age, and are among the finest examples from the period depicting one of Rome’s favorite blood sports, Moretti said.

"The attention to detail is incredible," she said at a presentation of the finds at Rome’s Villa Giulia museum.

The panels show bare-chested fighters armed with swords and shields and engaged in duels while surrounded by trumpet and horn players. In one of the most dramatic scenes, a gladiator steps on the wrist of a downed opponent who raises a finger in a plea for mercy.

The reliefs will be studied and restored before being shown to the public at Villa Giulia.

Prosecutor Paolo Ferri said a three-year investigation led police to the cache 10 days ago. No arrests have been made.
Dan Diffendale
Ph.D. candidate, University of Michigan
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#4
From the looks of the fighters they appear to be a thraex vs hoplomachus (sans hasta) and possibly a couple of essedarii.
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#5
Do you want pictures?

http://www.beniculturali.it/sala/immagi ... .asp?nd=ss
Luca Bonacina
Provincia Cisalpina - Mediolanum
http://www.cisalpina.net
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#6
Thanks- and a laudes.

Some astonishing details, e.g. the "shin protectors" and the cornicens' mouth pieces. Both are new to me...
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#7
If this is the excavation, it makes me suspicious...

And, I've never seen mouthpieces like this. Doesn't seem right to me.

Maybe I'm starting at shadows now, but is this really first century BC lettering?

I'm leaning with Cesar on this, it smells like a fake to me!
Dan Diffendale
Ph.D. candidate, University of Michigan
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#8
That is the excavation made in the thieves garden by the police staff, it is not an archeologial excavation.
Luca Bonacina
Provincia Cisalpina - Mediolanum
http://www.cisalpina.net
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#9
Quote:That is the excavation made in the thieves garden by the police staff, it is not an archeologial excavation.
Right, forgot about that bit... thanks.

But the reliefs themselves still make me wonder.
Dan Diffendale
Ph.D. candidate, University of Michigan
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#10
It is late republican, cause the opened helmets show the faces and the paarings seems to be the old fashioned.

For me more interesting is the one in the left center. He holds two swords AND it seems, that he stand on or beside the sword of his oponennt on the ground. Just a guess, cause it seems that this part is damaged.

If this is the fact, it's a dimacherus, the second picture could be read as.
Ok, now with the better picures: he stand on the hand, holding the sword. A Dimacherus. Gods, plz let it be authentic.


But you're right, they really look somewhat too good Big Grin
Lets hope.
real Name Tobias Gabrys

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#11
On the same site there is also a small explanation by the Minister's archeologists about the dating. The main clues are related to the subject itself. Gladiators seem to be previous to the augustan gladiator reformation.
Luca Bonacina
Provincia Cisalpina - Mediolanum
http://www.cisalpina.net
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#12
Not hard to discover.
Augustean reforms forced the gladiators to use smaller swords and the closed helmets came into the run.
Also paarings have the old fashioned gallics, samnites and so on.
A thracian with a more rounded sica also tell something....just great....
real Name Tobias Gabrys

Flavii <a class="postlink" href="http://www.flavii.de">www.flavii.de
& Hetairoi <a class="postlink" href="http://www.hetairoi.de">www.hetairoi.de
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#13
That's a different foot standing on a sword-wielding hand. I think the Essedarius or Galli has taken his enemy's sword and is administering the coup de grace with it. I find it intriguing that at last we have an inside view of one of the oval shields. Are those sculpted or painted serpents flanking the umbo?
Also intriguing are the leg guard above the foot standing on the sword-holding hand and the caestus-like manicae. Are we seeing patterned fabric, woven leather or embossed metal? Looks like woven leather to me, but who knows? I don't see a sica.
I hope this is for real, because it's loaded with detail from a period about which we have very little hard evidence.
Pecunia non olet
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#14
Viewing the epigraphy picture showed by Dan, you can see a lot of little spots on the surface of the marble. That's maked by a tool what in Spain is called gradina:

[Image: gradina.jpg]

Romans not use that tool, because oftenly the surface of his marbles, and specially the Luni-Carrara, was left very very smooth.

Normally in archaeology is not often to find some kind of representations, and that conjunt have a lot of them:

What about the finger signal?
What about the hand guards depicted only in pugilatum?
What about the eyebrows (gallic helmet style) in the helmets?
What about a cord subjecting the pommel of the sword to the gladiator's hand?

And, finally, the great question. WHY THE LOOTERS BURIED THE RELIEFS?

The only explanation it's for aging.
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#15
I can't say about the sculptural tool, but such early gladiatorial reliefs as have survived often show a manica that looks like the pugilist's caestus. the eyebrows are problematical. They look like elongated volutes and I've seen that, too, on early gladiatorial reliefs. If this is a forgery, it is one of the biggest ever perpetrated. These aren't small relief fragments here. They're huge!
Pecunia non olet
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