These guys don’t go to the gym to work out, they go to the dirty, sweaty, bloody arena of battle and bash each other to hell with ancient weapons forged in fire. The difference is they do it on, like, a Tuesday in the year 2009 after coming home from work at the paper company.
Welcome to the Rome Gladiator School, an institution that embraces the cultural history of Rome in its bloodiest, most ruthless form. Members of the school gather and fight with blunted weapons, but that’s not to say there is no danger. They swing just as hard as ever. And even if one’s head isn’t cut off, plenty of damage can be suffered. The L.A. Times reports on one student, Michele D'Orazio:
D'Orazio's nose -- describing it as Roman would be cliched but accurate -- had to be reconstructed after a shattering blow from a shield. His wife has become decidedly less enthusiastic about his hobby. "Blood was pouring out of the eye holes of the helmet," he recalls sheepishly. "A real blood bath."
It’s not just a boys club, though. Mazzoli (who is a mosaic artist when not killing men for sport) embraces the traditions of Roman fighting in the raddest way that a woman can:
Her outfit when she takes to the ring is realistic except for one detail. "Back then I would have fought bare-breasted," she said. "But I would risk arrest."
Source: Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema/Bridgeman Art Library/Getty Images