chapter  1
29 Pages

Cultural Context and Origins of Gladiatorial Combat

On the day before she was to be thrown to the beasts for refusing tosacrifice for the well-being of the emperors, a young Christian woman named Vibia Perpetua had a dream that, like most dreams, was a combination of reality and fantasy with an admixture of incoherency.1 In her dream, Perpetua is led into the amphitheatre, but not to face the wild beasts. She finds herself facing a frightening Egyptian opponent in a yet undetermined contest and when her seconds strip off her clothes, she has been transformed into a man.