Home Entertainment The Gladiator 2 Trailer’s Water Battles Were Real

The Gladiator 2 Trailer’s Water Battles Were Real


These staged naval battles were known as naumachia. They used real ships and gladiators and, in and amongst many spectacular Roman blood sports, this may well have been the most excessive of them all. According to the official website for The Colosseum in Rome, these types of staged battles were usually held in arenas specially constructed for this purpose, or large channels or man-made bodies of water. On some occasions though, they were indeed held in Roman amphitheaters.

The rare Roman amphitheater naumachia appears to be what Scott is going for in “Gladiator II,” a movie he finally decided to make after more than 20 years. The website also explains that these especially over-the-top battles were often held on special occasions:

“Naumachia were reserved for special occasions, such as the commemoration of Julius Caesar’s triumph in 46 BC. Participants were often prisoners of war or criminals condemned to death, and the battles were much bloodier than gladiatorial combat and fatality rates much higher.”

The Roman Colosseum held at least two such battles near the date of its inauguration. According to the Roman history website Maria Milani, gladiators were typically placed in flat bottomed boats, which were meant to mimic ancient Roman ships. It was also common to stage a recreation of a historical event from Roman history. So there is plenty of historical precedence for what Scott is doing in the film, and there are many ways he could go with it. Maybe he is going to use it as an excuse to stage a bloody historical battle. Either way, this is a situation where truth is stranger than fiction.

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