Gladiators invade the Canadian War Museum!

June 10, 2015

Ottawa, Ontario, June 10, 2015 — The Canadian War Museum is excited to present Gladiators and the Colosseum – Death and Glory, on its first and only stop in North America. This fascinating exhibition, developed by the Italian firms Contemporanea Progetti and Expona, features many remarkable artifacts, including actual pieces of the Colosseum along with rare weaponry and armour from the gladiator barracks in Pompeii. The exhibition reveals details of the lives of the armed athletes who fought, often to the death, to entertain and inspire the people of ancient Rome.

“We are delighted to present this exhibition, which adds depth and perspective to the pop-culture depiction of Roman gladiators and compares their lives to those of Roman soldiers,” says Mark O’Neill, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of History and the Canadian War Museum. “It is a thrilling exhibition for all, taking audiences right into the heart of ancient Rome.

Curated by the Director of the Colosseum, Rossella Rea, the exhibition reveals many surprising facts about gladiators and Rome’s militaristic culture. For example, most gladiators were slaves who were forced to fight — but some were Roman citizens who volunteered, hoping to achieve fame and glory. Some gladiators were women.

Gladiators were seen as models of courage and military prowess. Highly popular throughout the Roman world, they were celebrated and commemorated in fine art as well as commonplace objects. The ultimate expression of their status is Rome’s Colosseum, the ancient world’s largest amphitheatre, built exclusively for gladiatorial combat and related public spectacles. In more modern times, Hollywood has long fed a fascination with the spectacular highs and lows that marked a gladiator’s life.

The exhibition tells the story of Roman gladiators in four thematic zones: Rome, The Colosseum, Gladiators and A Day at the Colosseum.  A section about the Roman army with 13 rare objects was added specifically for the presentation at the War Museum. Immersive experiences will give visitors a visceral sense of what it was like to fight in the Colosseum, as well as how and why gladiatorial contests became central to ancient Rome.

A must-see exhibition this summer, Gladiators and the Colosseum – Death and Glory is on display at the Canadian War Museum from June 13 to September 7, 2015.

The Canadian War Museum is Canada’s national museum of military history. Its mission is to promote public understanding of Canada’s military history in its personal, national and international dimensions.


 Media contacts:

Yasmine   Mingay
Director,   Public Affairs
Canadian   War Museum
Telephone:   819-776-8608
Avra   Gibbs Lamey
Senior Communications and Media Relations Officer,  Canadian War Museum
Telephone:   819-776-8607

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