Gladiators star in a major exhibition at the MANN in Naples

The MANN-National Archaeological Museum of Naples presents a major exhibition on gladiators from April 8 to October 31, 2020.

From April 8 to October 31, 2020, Gladiators will be staged at the MANN - National Archaeological Museum of Naples: a major exhibition where the protagonists will be precisely the relentless fighters and entertainers of the crowds of Ancient Rome.

It will be hosted precisely in the museum’s Salone della Meridiana, inside which 150 works and objects from all over Europe will be visible to the public, tracing the history of gladiatorial art and providing a glimpse into their daily life.

It will start from the origins of gladiatorial art, in the funeral games of the Greek world, illustrate the first events of the Roman Republican age and finally arrive at the spectacular events organized in the imperial age. There will be artifacts from the gymnasium of Pompeii and the Colosseum Archaeological Park, that is, from the sites of the most important amphitheaters of the time, but there will be no shortage of traces showing the presence of gladiators in the provinces of central and northern Europe. These include artifacts from the York necropolis and the majestic mosaic from the Swiss city of Augusta Raurica depicting arena fights that will be displayed for the first time in Italy after restoration. Also, the fresco depicting the clash between Nocerini and Pompeians that took place in the arena of Pompeii in 59 A.D., found 150 years ago in the peristyle of the House of the Gladiator in Pompeii and now housed in the MANN collection.

Ancient armor, decorated helmets, shin guards that protected the legs, and bronze and silver shields: elements that constituted the image of these fighters. The exhibition will also draw on the most recent studies and findings to rigorously trace the figure of the gladiator: there will be exhibits related to the diet of gladiators, the places where they lived, the way they spent their days (from training to hunting), their passions and private desires, and even their relationship with death, evidenced by the texts of funerary inscriptions.

The exhibition has been described by MANN as the most important event of the year."Gladiators will be an epochal exhibition. An event of international significance in which for the first time the extraordinary finds from the museum’s collections, starting with those from the gymnasium of Pompeii, and the most important traces left by gladiators beyond the Alps will be displayed together. It will be innovative both in terms of the value of the content and new anthropological insights, including the discovery of information about a female gladiator, as well as the rich multimedia that will accompany it and the educational offerings aimed at children and young people. It will also anticipate the doubling of the museum’s Pompeian collections, scheduled for March 2021," said MANN director Paolo Gulierini.

The exhibition is produced in collaboration with theAntikenmuseum Basel.

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Pictured, Diptych of Aerobindus (6th century AD; Zurich)

Gladiators star in a major exhibition at the MANN in Naples
Gladiators star in a major exhibition at the MANN in Naples

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