Editor's Pick: Omnis gladiatoris

Real Roman armor

Real Roman armor from the University of Pennsylvania Museum collections, or a costume from “Gladiator”? Find out this Saturday at the Museum.

Photo by Tim Pafik

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