Gladiators and Animals. New Pictorial Graffiti from Aphrodisias and their Contexts 

Angelos CHANIOTIS – Peter D. DE STAEBLER   31–54

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Abstract: The authors present pictorial and textual graffiti from Aphrodisias that can be associated with munera and study their spatial context (ca. 3rd-6th cent. CE). Gladiatorial events and beast hunts certainly took place in the Stadium of Aphrodisias, where an oval Arena was constructed in the late fourth to early fifth century CE. Graffiti recorded in 1997–2008, mostly in the city’s Urban Park (‘South Agora’), show gladiators and exotic animals (lions, ostriches, an antelope). Pictorial and textual graffiti (peacocks, other birds, athletes, acclamations), found in their vicinity, are unrelated to gladiatorial events and venationes but provide important evidence for the spatial context. The concentration in the Urban Park of both acclamations and graffiti connected with the world of shows in the late Empire may suggests that this public space was used as a place of gatherings and possibly as the location of the clubs of the supporters of the circus factions.

Keywords: Aphrodisias; graffiti; gladiators; animals; public space; clubs; circus factions.



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