Female Gladiators Essay

1415 Words 6 Pages
Ancient athletics were not exactly welcoming to women participants, but there are a few text sources and artistic evidence that a few instances did occur, and were even encouraged. It is evident that women not only did not participate in the Olympic sports, but they were banned from even spectating. This was due to the fact that men competed in the nude as a religious ceremony to honor Zeus, and in history there is a common theme of women not being allowed in order so that it goes well (think how pirates never wanted women on their ships). Even with that stopping them, women found ways to get involved in the ancient athletics in other ways unique to them. Though married women in antiquity were banned from spectating at certain men’s sporting …show more content…
There is great evidence for two specific fighters who were honored on a plaque for being extremely talented fighters and equal opponents that were allowed to live onto the next match. Achilla and Amazon, as the plaque names them, were probably slaves like their male counterparts, made to fight for the entertainment of the Romans. However, there is also proof that emperors Nero and Domitian enjoyed watching the gladiatrixes, and women may have fought for nearly 100 years! While the women in the plaque are not represented as in the nude, it is believed that some gladiatrixes were made to be naked for the enjoyment of the male spectators, no doubt, but were still well respected. A gravesite found near London demonstrates just how well thought-of a popular gladiatrix could …show more content…
Based on Nero’s interest in watching the women fight, there must have been many many female fighters at that time. The Greek female runners at Heraea Games certainly held great respect as well, being participants in the games to honor Hera herself, and had the responsibility of weaving a new honorary robe for her to be placed in the temple at Olympia. The girls competed based on age, and ran much shorter distances than the men ran at the same location, but this only occurred every four years more as a celebration and ritual than sporting event, as winners received only crowns. The women who won chariot races in the Olympics were truly great women, especially the first female winner Kineska. She set the record for being the first woman winner, by means of owning the chariot team, and also set a new social norm for other women to follow in her footsteps. Many people look up to her still today as a leader in women’s rights, and as a model that women can do just as great things as men can, and even

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