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Gladiatrix. Source: Julien / Adobe Stock.

The Gladiatrix: Unleashing the Power of Women in Ancient Rome's Bloodiest Arena (Video)


The Colosseum in ancient Rome was a symbol of strength, courage, and honor. For nearly three decades, gladiatorial combat had been the ultimate expression of Roman values, where men battled each other to the death for the entertainment of the masses. But in 107 AD, a controversial twist on this brutal sport emerged. Female gladiators, or gladiatrix, stepped into the arena, representing an inversion of the masculine energy that gladiators embodied.

Emperor Trajan, known for his successes as a tough general and for expanding Rome's empire, saw the fighting women as an opportunity to bring new and exotic spectacle to the people of Rome. Among these gladiatrix was Mevia, a free citizen of Rome, who willingly took the gladiator's oath, committing herself to the life of a gladiator and to the possibility of dying on the sands of the Colosseum. Despite the social anxiety and worry about the dilution of Roman virtues, Mevia's victory resonated far beyond the Colosseum's walls and raises questions about the role of women in ancient Roman society.

Top image: Gladiatrix. Source: Julien / Adobe Stock.

By Robbie Mitchell



Pete Wagner's picture

As far as dubious narratives about Rome go, this one might be the big ‘shark jump’.

Nobody gets paid to tell the truth.

IronicLyricist's picture

Just proof that feminism happens before/as the decline of civilizations
Move along nothing to see here

infinitesimal waveparticles comprise what we call home the earth
manipulatable by thought ability supressed in humans since birth

Robbie Mitchell's picture


I’m a graduate of History and Literature from The University of Manchester in England and a total history geek. Since a young age, I’ve been obsessed with history. The weirder the better. I spend my days working as a freelance... Read More

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