Conférence de Kathleen M. Coleman lors du colloque Actualité et décor. De l’événement éphémère à l’image pérenne organisé par l'AOROC, dans le cadre du Labex TransferS.
Gladiators, depicted either individually or in pairs, are a common decorative motif on the discus of Roman lamps, and lamps shaped like gladiatorial helmets are also occasionally found. Other lamps, however, show an independent frieze of gladiatorial arms and armor, similar to friezes of military equipment, which also occasionally occur on lamps. In contrast to friezes of military equipment, which occur also in other media, friezes of gladiatorial equipment seem to be confined to lamps.
In this paper, I shall try to account for this choice of decoration. After briefly examining the tradition of xenia in Roman art (the equivalent of “still life”), I shall identify the types of gladiatorial equipment shown on lamps, noting the absence of the equipment of the retiarius. I shall then argue that these lamps have nothing to do with the representation of gladiatorial equipment on tombstones.
Instead, I shall suggest that the closest analogy to the display of gladiatorial equipment on lamps is the display of gladiators’ arms and armor in the pompa before a gladiatorial contest, and I shall conclude that, just as military weapons carry connotations of heroic status and glorious reputation, so independent montages of gladiatorial weapons symbolize the display of force and skill in gladiatorial combat.
Kathleen M. Coleman, née au Zimbabwé, est professeur de Lettres classiques, enseignante de latin à l'Université d'Harvard. Elle est spécialiste de l'histoire des combats des gladiateurs.Cliquer ICI pour fermer
Dernière mise à jour : 13/05/2014