Carnuntum's gladiator school - next to Vienna

Carnuntum's gladiator school

After we had thoroughly inspected the amphitheatre during our tour, we noticed a wooden structure in the immediate vicinity that had also sparked our interest: the so-called gladiator school.

The Carnuntum gladiator school was discovered in 2011 through the usage of the most modern, non-destructive methods of geophysical prospecting west of the civil city's amphitheatre, which was built by Caius Dometius Zmaragdus in the second half of the second century AD and which had seating capacity of about 13,000 people.

b_450_450_16777215_00_images_geschichte_antike_gladiatorenschule-1.jpgAn international team from the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology made this sensational discovery in collaboration with the Roman city of Carnuntum in 2011. Thanks to the usage of these state-of-the-art ground-based radar devices, remnants of the gladiator school could be located in the immediate vicinity of the civil cities amphitheatre, the completeness and size of it are internationally unique and the clarity of the recorded building structures can only be compared to that of Ludus Magnus in Rome. The international media coverage was correspondingly large at the time.

Gladiator school as educational institution and place of residence

b_450_450_16777215_00_images_geschichte_antike_gladiatorenschule-2.jpgThe parts of the building of the approximately 2,800 square meter gladiator school were grouped around an inner courtyard, in which a practice arena with a diameter of approximately 19 meters could be detected. The arena with wooden grandstand was reconstructed in 2014 at the original location after archaeological investigations.

The gladiator school also included an approximately 100 square meter training hall with underfloor heating, an extensive bathing facility and a large meeting and dining room. In addition to secure access, the owner's 300 square meter administration and living area was located. Two L-shaped wings arranged around the courtyard housed the gladiators' living room, which measures an average of 5 square meters. To the north of the building complex was an extensive walled courtyard.

Wooden reconstruction of the gladiator school at the original location

b_450_450_16777215_00_images_geschichte_antike_gladiatorenschule-3.jpgBased on the prospection results, parts of the gladiator school were uncovered during archaeological excavations in 2014 in order to gain more detailed information about the training arena of the gladiators. Directly after the investigations, the arena with an inner diameter of approx. 14 m (46 Roman feet) and 19 m outer diameter and two rows of spectators was rebuilt exactly at the point where the original arena stood around 1800 years ago.

The following year, the wood reconstruction was included in the event calendar for the first time with a public training session by the in-house gladiator group Familia Gladiatoria Carnuntina.

Please read as well:

Hüfingen - Roman Fort Bath of Brigobannis - Roman Museum
Geographer Pomponius Mela and Lake Constance


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