Gladiators or a dying trade

Charles Cowling

Remember Libitina? She is the Roman goddess of death corpses and funerals (quick refresher here).

Gladiators were linked to her, but the idea of fighting at funerals is far older than the epic combats of the late republic or the empire. In early days a fight to the death was a part of the funeral ceremony itself. Or so it says in the Horrible Histories. Great re-enactment here:

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Richard Rawlinson
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Richard Rawlinson

Bloody pagans.