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University students to live like ancient Roman gladiators
Students training for the project. Photo: DPA

University students to live like ancient Roman gladiators

Published: 29 Mar 2010 10:50 GMT+02:00
Updated: 29 Mar 2010 10:50 GMT+02:00

Twenty students from the University of Regensburg plan to live and train in the style of Roman gladiators from 79 AD and stage a battle for scientific research this summer, the project's Bavarian organisers said on Monday.

“We know hardly anything about the gladiators,” historian Josef Löffl said. “There are a lot of myths and clichés attached.”

Löffl and his colleagues plan to find out this August whether they can make modern young men into authentic gladiators following the Roman example.

The student warriors, who are all studying various disciplines at the university, won’t be eating pizza, hamburgers or steaks during their training. Instead they’ll have berries and white beans on their plates as the ancient Roman doctor Galen recommended in his texts.

They will also learn to fight wearing bronze helmets that weigh almost five kilogrammes at a camp that won’t allow girlfriends, showers, or washing machines.

“For me it’s a welcome change from sitting in front of the computer,” said athletic archaeology student Martin Schreiner.

He and the other gladiators are already training together four days a week. Following the summer training camp the group plans to perform at the former Roman army camp Carnuntum in Austria.

“We assume that those involved will weather the experiment quite well,” Löffl said.

Regensburg was once an important Roman stronghold along the Danube River, and historians at the university have conducted similar experiments in the past. In 2004 students built a Roman galley along the banks of the river, while others lived like legionnaires in the Alps.

This year’s project has been funded by €200,000 from businessman Hans Schaller, whose hobby is recreating historic events and participating as the character "Schallus Brutalus Maximus.”

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

11:26 March 29, 2010 by William Thirteen
do you like gladiator movies Bobby?
13:24 March 29, 2010 by dbert4
Will that include orgys?
17:18 March 29, 2010 by Eagle1
Beans, berries, sweat, and no showers. Good times.
17:46 March 29, 2010 by peschvogel
I guess that free housing and free food in that German education fee is not all its cracked up to be. Schade...
22:33 March 29, 2010 by wxman
I'm pretty sure they won't be enjoying all aspects of galdiator life - - even if they experience them!
14:17 March 30, 2010 by Danish Omer Zuberi
Hope they find out it was the lousiest past time ever to watch humans kill each other for pleasing the spectators. Gladiators were free romans or slaves? were they killing, maiming, fighting each other for fun, money, or just to avoid torture and live another day. How did the romans acquire these gladiators.
17:16 March 30, 2010 by someguy
Wow 4 days of training a week.... sounds tough, considering many gladiators died durring training. Are they going ot stick the ones who suck into pits with starving lions. If they are going to do this they need to be as realistic as possible.
18:19 March 31, 2010 by Henckel
Does this mean there will be a revival of "the games"?
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