Roman gladiators were the pro wrestlers of their day, as the millions of people who made the movie “Gladiator” a blockbuster now know. The gladiators also embodied the warrior values that turned Rome into the greatest empire the world had yet known.
This Saturday, the University of Pennsylvania Museum begins a series of films about the Eternal City with a “Gladiator Afternoon,” offering the whole family a glimpse of the glory that was ancient Rome. In addition to a 2 p.m. screening of the Oscar-winning film, props and costumes from the movie will be on display, and Tim Pafik, author of the forthcoming book “Gladiator: The Armor, Costumes and Weaponry,” will explain how the historically accurate items were created. And for those for whom film is not enough, the Museum offers live gladiators—military re-enactors from Legion XXIV, Media Atlantia, Provincia Pennsylvania, demonstrating gladiatorial combat styles.
Doctoral candidate Amy Zoll will also be on hand to sign copies of her new book, “Gladiatrix: The True Story of History’s Unknown Woman Warrior.”
The film series, “Ecco Roma, Citta Eterna,” is part of the Museum’s run-up to the opening of its revamped classical galleries next March.
- “GLADIATOR AFTERNOON”: Saturday, Nov. 2, from noon to 4:30 p.m. at the University of Pennsylvania Museum, 3260 South St. Admission $5, students/seniors $2.50, Museum members/PennCard holders/children 6 and under free. Come dressed in a toga for half off the admission. “Gladiator” costume display continues through Dec. 1. See day-by-day listings for other films in the “Ecco Roma” series.
Originally published on October 31, 2002