Monday, April 09, 2012

The Gladiatorial Eagles : Roman Heroism and Single Combat on Early Battlefields.

The idea of single combat in the Roman Empire immediately evokes the powerful image of the gladiator standing over a downed opponent, his gladius raised for the glory of the patron of the games, the crowds embroiled with the bloodlust so easily awakened. What is less known is this gladiatorial ethos in the context of open battle. Instead of the mobs of the Empire, the spectators would be two opposing armies, cheering on their own champion.

It is little known, or at least, rarely described, the tendency of the early Roman Republican armies to engage in an act most commonly associated with their Barbarian counterparts, the art of single combat to decide an entire battle.