Pompeii dig unearths fighting fresco in 'gladiators' tavern'
A well-preserved fresco depicting fighting gladiators has been unearthed by archaeologists in the ancient Roman city of Pompeii.
The scene is of the end of a fight between two types of gladiator – a murmillo and a Thracian – where one wins and the other succumbs. The two types were distinguished by their armour and weapons.
It is the latest discovery in Regio V, a 21.8-hectare (54-acre) site to the north of the archaeological park that is yet to open to the public.
The fresco was found on a wall beneath the stairwell of what was probably a tavern frequented by gladiators and which provided accommodation on a higher floor for them to sleep with sex workers.
“It’s very probable that this place was frequented by gladiators,” said Massimo Osanna, the director general of Pompei’s archaeological park. “We are in Regio V, not far from where there was a barracks for gladiators, where among other things, there was graffiti referring to this world.
“Of particular interest in this fresco is the very realistic representation of wounds on the wrist and chest of the unsuccessful gladiator … we don’t know the outcome of the fight, he could have died or was given grace.”