Apparently, the historical reenactment bug has spread back in time to Imperial Rome. You can now go to gladiator school:
During your two-hour lesson, your gladiator instructor will teach you how to fight with authentic weapons used by the gladiators of ancient Rome. Lessons are organized and led by members of the Historic Group of Rome who specialize in the re-enactment of Roman life and gladiatorial combat.The New York Times profiled a similar gladiator school some years back, making it sound a little more, ah, disciplined:
Don't miss this opportunity to re-create Roman history and life as a gladiator. Dressed in a traditional gladiator tunic, belt, leather protective glove and rudis (training sword), you can let your imagination run wild as you play like Spartacus for a day, fighting off ferocious lions and sword-wielding warriors!
The first lesson at the gladiator school of the Roman Historical Society stressed discipline. "You are slaves, and that is how I will treat you," Giuseppe Coluzzi, 32, barked at eight adults fidgeting in short white togas...I admit, this sounds like a ridiculous amount of fun. And, this being April and all, I can't help but think that it's probably tax deductible. For me at least.
My favorite part of the Times article is where they speculate on why Italians are not so into historical reenactment:
Unlike American Civil War buffs who rigorously re-enact the Battle of Gettysburg or Manassas, Italians are not known for an obsession with dressing up and reliving past wars. Italy's somewhat concise history of modern battlefield victories could be one reason.What a charming way of saying that the Italian army sucks. Don't tell Oronzo.
Thanks to Kimie for the tip!