İbrahim LaleliANTALYA / Doğan News Agency
Many of the performers now work as waiters in hotels in the region. DHA photo
The closure of a “gladiator school” in the Mediterranean province of Antalya
has forced would-be combatants to fight for jobs in other professions.
The Aspendos Gladiator School, where Roman-era gladiator fights were re-enacted, did not open its doors this tourism season due to concerns over low interest. The silence in the 800-capacity arena, built near the ancient theater of Aspendos, forced the performers portraying the gladiators, who were mostly from villages nearby, to seek jobs elsewhere.
Many of the performers who were once engaged in sword fights and re-enacted execution scenes, now work as waiters in hotels and restaurants in the region.
The Aspendos Gladiator School hosted its first “gladiator fight” one year ago on a stage transformed to resemble a Roman-era arena for the performance. However, organizers of the event were disappointed with the paltry audience and the limited interest in the performance.
The Aspendos Gladiator School Consultant Mehmet Bıcıoğlu expected to see interest increase in subsequent performances. “We plan to continue the performances for the next five years. This is a unique undertaking in the world,” he said at the time.
Gladiator fights were typically staged between slaves, or slaves and ferocious animals, as a form of entertainment in the Roman era. The dramatized fights in Aspendos were presented with hand-made clothes and weapons.