ANTALYA - Doğan News Agency
The Aspendos Gladiator School staged its first ancient Roman gladiator performance Aug 16 on the training school’s newly built stage in Antalya. DHA photo
The crash of swords and shields can once again be heard in the town of Serik in the southern Antalya
province thanks to the Aspendos Gladiator School, but the question remains: is anyone listening?
Aspendos Gladiator School staged their first antique Roman Gladiator performance Aug. 16 on the training school’s newly built stage to little interest. Organizers of the event were disappointed with the paltry audience and limited interest the performance drew, but said they would better prepare for the following performances and expected more interest from tourists.
The front of Aspendos Gladiator School was transformed to resemble a Roman era arena for the performance. Viewers entered the arena through an aisle embellished with sculptures and fire. Before the performance a fake “slave trade” was conducted in the marketplace of the town. Slave women were sold to rich tradesmen in an auction. The activities started with the opening of the arena to the gladiators.
Twelve gladiators came to the arena stage in specially designed costumes and armed with historical weapons. The gladiators were introduced to viewers by their names and then fought against each other after being matched. The performers’ fighting styles and shouts left the audience shocked.
The Aspendos Gladiator School Consultant Mehmet Bıcıoğlu pointed out that hand-made clothes and weapons were used for the performance, which took place at an arena with an 800 person capacity. Interest was not high
Bıcıoğlu also said that the facility was completed and it this had been the first time gladiator fights were performed as they were in the
Roman era. Organizers hope to bring a new, fun alternative to local tourism, he said. “The accessories were designed like in the Roman era. The viewers will have a chance buy souvenirs from the marketplace of the Roman town.”
Although interest in the first performance was not high, they expected to see it increase in the next performances. “We plan to continue the performances for the next five years. This is a unique organization in the world. We carry out the performances with a group of 60 professionals, 12 out of 60 works as gladiators in the performances. We revive the Roman tradition in Anatolian lands,” Bıcığlu said. Gladiator fights are performed on Tuesday and Saturday nights.