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DNA Confirms Headless Roman-Era 'Gladiator' Not From Britain

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DNA Confirms Headless Roman-Era 'Gladiator' Not From Britain - And Maybe Not A Gladiator

 

The “headless Romans” from Eboracum (modern York in England) made a splash when forensic analysis of the graveyard was first announced in 2010. Excavated between 2004-2005, the cemetery contained around 100 individuals, almost all of whom were male. This odd graveyard held more intrigue, though: many of the skeletons were decapitated, showed evidence of puncture wounds from animals, and had lopsided musculature. All of this was suggestive of their employment as gladiators. As the Roman Empire's northernmost provincial capital, Eboracum flourished around 200 AD.  But researchers have long wondered how cosmopolitan this remote outpost was...

 

...via Forbes

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What is the significance of the Iron Age individual over the others--Roman Britain and Welsh? His DNA goes back further?  I'm not sure I understand. 

 

Cinzia

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It's about where this man was born. He was found dead in York, but was a foreigner by birth according to his DNA.

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Got it.  Interesting article.  Life was so hard then.  When I'm whining to myself about things in my own life, I think of some poor men like these.  Most likely young, slaves perhaps, the quality of their lives poor (and most likely dreadful) and their legacy a grave—a pit with their heads beside them or somewhere else.  Tragic.

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Possibly. But by the time of Augustus, there were already some restrictions on volunterering for gladiatorial training. The rewards for success were undeniable since fighters kept a portion of their winnings - only fair since they were taking the risks. The reality is perhaps more illuminating. Newbie gladiators on the first professional fight had roughly one third chance of dying. This dropped to one in nine as they gained experience, value, and the option of becoming a trainer themselves. The average life expectancy of a gladiator was four years. They fought between once and three times a year usually. Volunteers agreed a term of service with a lanista, normally five years, but sometimes three or seven. For many, it was simply a way out of debt, albeit a risky one.

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