Female gladiators and the cult of the gladiatrix

Origins of gladiatorial combat - Gladiator contests became popular throughout the Roman Empire from 105 BCE to 404 CE.

A fight to the death -
A clash between gladiators was a bloody duel to the death between armed men, nearly all of whom were slaves, criminals, or prisoners of war.

A banned sport - Female gladiators in ancient Rome were scarce. By 200 CE, however, Emperor Septimius Severus had effectively slapped a ban on women entering the arena.

Grave concerns -
The assumption that they'd stumbled upon a female gladiator burial site was based on the decorative items and remains of a lavish feast occupying the grave. 

A novelty attraction -
Gladiatrices who fought and died in the arena were often marketed as a novelty attraction.

Not for women - Furthermore, the gladiatrix deviated from the norms of Roman womanhood: women were viewed as wives and, especially, as mothers. There was no place for a woman in the arena.

No evidence of gladiatrix -
The most famous gladiator school was in Pompeii, but there is no evidence for the existence or training of female gladiators in any known gladiator school.

The women of Sparta -
The women of Sparta certainly embodied a warrior spirit. Unmarried girls regularly participated in sports. 

The first female Olympic champion -
And it was a Spartan female who became the first woman to win at the ancient Olympic Games, in 396 BCE. 

Penthesilea -
One of the Amazonian's bravest leaders was Queen Penthesilea. Savage and ruthless, she sided with Troy during the Trojan War, but was eventually struck down by Achilles.

Joan of Arc - Joan of Arc, patron saint and national heroine of France, was the pious peasant girl who became a military leader and led her country to victory against England.

Role model - The first major female character of African descent in American comics, Storm is also one of Marvel's most notable and powerful female heroes.

Kindred spirits -
The character Wonder Woman made her first appearance as far back as 1941 in DC Comics' 'All Star Comics.' 

'Pepsi Gladiators' - Made in 2004, the three-minute achievement in advertising starred Beyoncé, Britney Spears, and Pink as three gladiatrices who enter the ring to fight each other.

Modern female gladiators - Take in a cage fight of women's mixed martial arts and experience just how bloody and barbarous a clash between two gladiatrices must have been.

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