Codex Atlanticus - Chapter 6 by wheatpenny ()
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** Some may find this chapter disturbing. I do not in any way approve of or condone what happens in this chapter. This book is intended to teach about everyday life in ancient Rome, and these things are simply part of that everyday Roman life.
The image is rendered in Daz Studio.
The gladiator's armour and clothes are from Xurge3d, the tigers are Daz Big Cat 2, the Arena is the Poserworld Collisseum. The ground shader is from Daz. **
A Day At The Arena
“Come on, we’ll be late” Melissa said. “Gaius and the others are ready to go!”
I looked up from what I wwas doing, namely trying to grind one of the beads Melissa had brought me into a lens “Go?” I said,”where?”
“To the arena, silly” she said.
“Oh,” I said, “I forgot that was today”, which wasn’t entirely true. It had slipped my mind for a moment, but the truth was that I wasn’t really looking forward to seeing a gladiatorial combat, but Gaius was sponsoring it. He was running for the office of Aedile and needed this to gain public support. In the 21st Century this kind of vote-buying would be considered unethical and illegal, but here it was the way things were normally done. But the ethical issue wasn’t why I was in no hurry to go, it was because I just didn’t want to see people hacking each other apart. I finally decided to go partly because Gaius was sponsoring it, and partly because everyone else was going and I didn’t want to be the only one not going. Normally slaves weren’t allowed to attend these kinds of events, but since Gaius was sponsoring it he made an exception for us.
We reached the arena. On a stone post near the entrance was a sign made of Papyrus that had the names of the gladiators. I noticed that two of them were named “Athena” and “The Amazon Princess”.
“Women?” I asked, “there are women gladiators?”.
“Of course there are”, Melissa said. A woman gladiator is called a ‘gladiatrix’.
After Athena’s name was the word ‘retiaria’. I aksed what that meant. “A woman retiarius” was Pius’ answer.
“And what exactly is a retiarius?” I asked.
“A gladiator that fights with fishing equipment” Pius said. For a moment I had a mental picture of a gladiator beating someone over the head with a fishing pole.
“Fishing equipment?” I said. “You mean with a pole, or what?”
“No, she’s armed with a net and a trident” Melissa said.
We finally made our way into the gate and up a flight of wooden stairs to what was commonly called the ‘Royal Box’, but was actually reserved seating for the person sponsoring the games and his invited guests. I had no idea why they called it the ‘Royal Box’ since very few people of royal pedigree ever came to Alexandria. After a few minutes a trumpet fanfare sounded, and Gaius got up and looked around himself at all the people. He was wearing an immaculately white toga, called a “toga candida’, which is customarily worn by candidates for public office. In fact, the word ‘candidate’ derives from a Latin word, ‘candidatus’, which means “wearing a (toga) candida’. Someone handed him a speaking trumpet which was basically a megaphone. He spoke into it. He introduced himself and said that he was a candidate for the office of Junior Aedile.
“Now, “ he continued, “without further delay we’ll introduce the first combat. We present , from Cenchraea, in Achaia, Athena, the retiaria, and from right here in Alexandria, the murmilla known as the Amazon Princess!”
“What’s a murmilla?” I whispered to Melissa.
“A gladiatrix armed with a shortsword and shield” she answered. A male gladiator of the same type is called a ‘murmillo’.
The two gladiators came out through two gates on opposite ends of the arena. Athena wore a red tunic and had a helmet but no other armour that I could see. She carried a rolled-up fishing net in her left hand, and her right hand clutched a trident. The Amazon Princess wore a green tunic and a helmet with a grate that covered her face. The only armour she had besides the helmet was an armoured sleeve on her right arm. She carried a rectangular green wooden shield on her left arm.
The two women strutted across the arena and stood before the Royal Box. They executed a Roman salute and shouted something in Latin that I couldn’t understand. Then they turned and walked to the center of the Arena. The Amazon Princess unsheathed her sword and the two circled each other, eying each other warily. Suddenly, Athena threw her net towards the Amazon Princess who jumped out of the way. Athena pulled her net back and the Amazon Princess rushed her, slashing with her sword. Athena shouted something I couldn’t hear and jumped back, jabbing at the Amazon Princess with her trident. This went on for the next few minutes, the two exchanging blows and dodging each other when suddenly Athena threw her net over the Amazon Princess’ head and yanked it back, bringing the other gladiatrix’s helmet with it. The Amazon Pricess’ red hair, which had previously been rolled up in her helmet, fell down her back. She lunged forward and raked her sword across Athena’s torso, causing ehr stomach to bleed. Athena threw out her net again. The Amazon Princess slashed at it trying to cut it, but it became entangled in the net. Athena pulled the net back, easily relieving the Amazon Princess of her sword. Athena threw her net aside, with the sword still entangled in it, and began jabbing at the now disarmed Amazon Princess with her trident, and the Amazon Princess did the only thing she now could, fending off the blows with her shield. Finally Athena backed her up to the wall and kicked the edge of the shield violently, causing the Amazon Princess to drop it. She then stood defiantly as Athena put her trident to the other gladiatrix’s throat and looked up at Gaius for his decision.
Gaius gave the hand signal that meant to release her. The two saluted then the Amazon princess picked up her shield and helmet. Athena recovered her net, disentangled the sword and threw it at the Amazon Princess’ feet. She picked it up, put it in its sheath and the two marched out of the arena.
When I told Melissa that I was glad Gaius had not ordered Athena to kill the Amazon Princess, she told me that candidates for public office rarely do, becdause they’re trying to show the public how generous and benevolent they are.. The speactators are here to see a fight, not a massacre, and don’t necessarily want the loser killed.
The second fight was then introduced, this time Aulus, a venator which, as Melissa explained to me, was a gladiator who fought animals (‘venator’ is the Latin word for ‘hunter’).
Aulus came out through the gate on the left side of the arena. He wore a blue half-tunic and arnour and weapons of the same type as the Amazon Princess had worn. He walked to the Royal Box and saluted, then turned around. The gate on the right side opened and two tigers came out. They walked cautiously around the edge of the arena, with Aulus watching their every move. One of them ran at Aulus and pounced, but Aulis deflected it with his wooden shield. The other tiger lunged from behind and Aulus spun around and hit it with the side of his sword.
I won’t go into the details of what happened next except to say that after about fifteen minutes both tigers were dead and Aulus was splattered with blood, some of it his own.
Aulus then stood in front of the Royal Box and saluted once more as the audience cheered wildly and Gaius praised his performance. While this was going on, some slaves came out leading some horses. They attached some ropes to them and took some hooks on the other end of the ropes and hooked the dead tigers, then leadinbg the horses back toward the gate they succeeded in dragging the tigers’ bodies out of the arena. After the fight was over, Gaius gave a short speech then everyone got up and began filing out of the doors of the Arena.
Although I couldn’t say I had enjoyed the fights, what with my 21st Century thoughts and beliefs getting in the way, but today wasn’t a total waste. Over the past week or so I had managed to grind three lenses and was nearly finished with a fourth one. Soon I’d have my camera obscura, and hopefully Melissa and I would be free soon. But first I had to figure out how to make those photographic plates. I figured I could make dry gelatin based plates like I did when I did it for my science fair project, but the problem was coming up with the silver chloride. There were several ways to make some, but the problem would be finding the necessary ingredients.
Image Comments (3)
Oh wow, he isn't making a camera obscura, he wants to make a fixed image. That changes the camera obscura to a camera. Now he really has taken on a project. He'll need silver nitrate and sodium chloride, which means he will need nitric acid, which means he will need nitrogen dioxide. Of course he can probably substitute sodium chloride for potassium nitrate or maybe even ammonium nitrate, and that is the only substance that would be readily available, with some basic manufacturing. And all that is needed for only the first phase, he will need hydrochloric acid, depending on how long he wants his image to stay on the paper, which brings us to paper... papyrus won't work, so he'll have to manufacture paper. .... and.... all that doesn't matter. I know, it's just a really great story and gets you to thinking about what you would do in that situation.