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Pertinax

Fat Gladiators

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I couldnt help but notice that depictions of gladiatorial combat do not always contain images of athletic and muscular types, indeed I notice a tendency toward a stocky rotundity. I assume that like boxers fitness is good but a reserve layer of subcutaneous fat was even more important to take a sword blow and recover.

 

My personal experience is also that when I was at my heaviest ,(but with good cardio vascular fitness) I was more comfortable in a Kendo bout. After I was unwell and lost weight (in the wake of a contest) I never felt quite as strong again.

Edited by Pertinax

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This is a good discussion for a gladiatorial thread in Imperium Romanum, but there seems to be agreement with your idea Pertinax from historians that fatter gladiators were preferred because they could more easily recover from wounds. From all that fat padding, hehe.

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It's amazing how much "history" is a projection of what people want to see...

 

I believe that there were both types of gladiators, the fit well muscled types and the...thicker...variety. Although I highly doubt any of them made it to sumo wrestler size. It makes sense as well not only because of the sword wounds, but also because many of them ended up wrestling to finish a fight, and as anyone who's ever been in a wrestling match will tell you weight is definitely an advantage (I've been squashed underneath someone many times in matches).

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I kicked the thread off when I was pondering why would a secutor be at an advantadge over another conditioned athlete, or at least offer a strongly contrasting fighting type? I had a look at some mosaic illustrations and wondered if physique varied greatly-it might do between ethnic groups with different diets and lifestyles (as we now say).I presume the object of pairing would be incongruity/contrast so the secutor would have to duck and dive to avoid a heavy blow from some tubby murmillo.Lost Warrior is to the point if the struggle has to be to the death (or near enough) weight would be a blessing in a brawl.

 

Sumotori get hefty on seafood porridge , but that wasnt quite the "heavy" I was thinking of. Pork would be a top of the range food for accomplished men, well worth the investment for those who liked to bet on a well conditioned fighter.

 

Cholesterol is much maligned nowadays but it one of the best "ready use" repairing substances in the body, athletes with a high HDL level are not under any great risk from cardio difficulties -so I say a tubby guy who could run a bit would get my backing at the games.

 

are you not entertained?

Edited by Pertinax

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Didnt Gladiators live on a Barley diet?i thought the fighters ate a kinda barley gruel most of the time, but would eat meat before a match.The barley is supposed to give a certain type of harder fat,which would help stop the more serious woundsThey must of ate a lot of the stuff though,barley's quite low in fat content.

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a barley based gruel would be very a good idea-very good for the body -keeps the kidneys in top condition and allows thorough processing of all ingested foodstuffs (ie: optimised nutrition)i, and a gruel would of course include meats and fats .Protein content in barley is high and complex and in the ancient world it was a revered crop with sacrificial overtones (Wicker Man fans pay attention).

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I always go back to a special I saw that featured an excavation of a Gladiator burial ground. They were able to tell some of the wounds, the deathblows, and more importantly, the diet. The Barley gruel was meant to fatten them up, but dont think of them as the overweight people that todays society thinks of. They were extremely strong, and, as alluded to above, the fat allowed cuts, punctures, and blunt blows to have less of an affect on the vital organs.

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My Kendo teacher was very fast and very tough, smaller than me 5'10" to my 6"1", but lightning quick and you could not knock him off balance-and I am not light. When I visited him in Japan i realised he was taller and much heavier than his compatriats, maybe 2 or 3 stones heavier , so a big guy.The main thing about him was his stamina, you could not bully him off the floor no matter what- never mind his sword technique , so I suggest we look to builds like true wrestlers for an optimised gladiator. I would add that when fighting westerners weight came to be more important if technique was matched and sheer power without finesse was employed.

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When I did tae-kwon-do, I won alot of matches due to my size and the fact that I would not back down (I seriously did not feel most of the blows). I was not quick, in fact I was relatively slow and clumsy compared to most of my opponents, so I took alot of shots, but I dealt them back twice as hard as they came. As a result, no one wanted to fight me. In competition I actually chased a higher rank but smaller opponent out of the ring.

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Anyone know where did the most successful gladiotors come from? I would think the prcatical Romans would try to obtain the best fron anywhere...I would assume Nubia or therabouts. ( most succesful heavyweight boxers..etc have African roots)

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I think in terms of gladiatorial schools, Campania and Capua were well known. I'm sure if you could tame and train one of those Germans or Picts they would make just as good fighters.

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First catch your Pict ,then fatten him up.

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First catch your Pict ,then fatten him up.

 

Unless he was cheap and you wanted a good death ?

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