Aspendos Gladiator School Closed!

From Hurriyet:

The closure of a “gladiator school” in the Mediterranean province of Antalya has forced would-be combatants to fight for jobs in other professions.

The Aspendos Gladiator School, where Roman-era gladiator fights were re-enacted, did not open its doors this tourism season due to concerns over low interest. The silence in the 800-capacity arena, built near the ancient theater of Aspendos, forced the performers portraying the gladiators, who were mostly from villages nearby, to seek jobs elsewhere.

Many of the performers who were once engaged in sword fights and re-enacted execution scenes, now work as waiters in hotels and restaurants in the region.

The Aspendos Gladiator School hosted its first “gladiator fight” one year ago on a stage transformed to resemble a Roman-era arena for the performance. However, organizers of the event were disappointed with the paltry audience and the limited interest in the performance.
The Aspendos Gladiator School Consultant Mehmet Bıcıoğlu expected to see interest increase in subsequent performances. “We plan to continue the performances for the next five years. This is a unique undertaking in the world,” he said at the time.

Gladiator fights were typically staged between slaves, or slaves and ferocious animals, as a form of entertainment in the Roman era. The dramatized fights in Aspendos were presented with hand-made clothes and weapons.

[insert quip about making sure you tip well here]

Our previous coverage:

… and here are a couple vids of the action … vocalizations appear to be a required course:

Gladiating Returns to Aspendos

From Hurriyet:

Roman era blood sports – or at least a mock dramatization thereof – will return to an ancient arena in the southern province of Antalya tomorrow thanks to an initiative to stage gladiator fights for tourists.

“The performances will start at 9 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays,” Mehmet Bıcıoğlu, a consultant for the Aspendos Gladiator Arena, recently told Anatolia news agency. “Performed by a group of 80 people, the gladiator fights will be accompanied by Gregorian music, and dance performances will also be presented.”

Gladiator fights were typically staged between slaves, or slaves and ferocious animals, as a form of entertainment in the Roman era. The dramatized fights in Aspendos will be presented with hand-made clothes and weapons before audiences of up to 800 people, Bıcıoğlu said, adding that the arena for the battles has been completed.

Bıcıoğlu said his group would be presenting a type of event that has never been seen in modern Turkey. “I think our organization [will] contribute greatly to cultural tourism in Antalya,” he said.

The group is planning to perform until the end of November, Bıcıoğlu said, adding that tickets for the first performance tomorrow will cost 25 Turkish Liras.

The 12 performers who are set to portray gladiators have been engaged in rigorous training ahead of the first performance, while organizers are working to make the hand-made clothes and weapons, as wells as the sword fights and execution scenes, resemble the original spectacle as closely as possible.

The performers who will act in the swordfight scenes are also training hard to ensure they will not harm each other.

“Our practices are going very well; we would like to see many spectators here,” said İbrahim Caner, one of the gladiators.

This one’s a bit confusing; Aspendos does have one of the best preserved theatres in the area but (as the Wikipedia article on Aspendos notes) it hasn’t been used for performances for a while. They did build something called the ‘Aspendos Arena’ nearby … can we assume that’s where the fighting will take place? I’m still trying to wrap my head around gladiators fighting to ‘Gregorian music’, but it probably doesn’t mean what I think it is.

Aspendos Gladiator School

Gladiators from the Zliten mosaic.
Image via Wikipedia

The Aspendos Gladiator School is planning to train Turkish oil wrestlers to re-enact the gladiator fights of ancient Rome in the southern Province of Antalya.

The school is in the Serik district, which is also home to the ancient theater of Aspendos. The school covers 300 square meters near the site of the ancient theater and is expected to be open by the end of May.

Students will receive basic acting training to re-enact the gladiator fights and the chariot races of ancient times. Handmade costumes and weapons will be used during the shows, and there will be an 800-person spectator hall built to match Roman architectural tradition. There will also be a Roman market in the arena.

The school’s administrator, Ali Akay, said the spectators would also be provided with outfits of the time to increase the ambience, adding that the gladiators who will take part in the shows are set to begin horse-riding training in the next few days.

“We have 16 horses. Up to now, we have spent almost 300,000 Turkish Liras, and we are still holding auditions for gladiator candidates. They are supposed to be well built, and therefore we believe the best candidates will be Turkish oil wrestlers. We have already offered the roles to our local wrestlers, and we are waiting for the results.”

Akay also said 40 people will take part in the shows, which will be composed of many traditional Roman games. “We will re-enact the gladiator spirit in Anatolia with the shows we produce. Of course, we have commercial concerns, but our main motive is our love for and interest in history.”

via Local wrestlers to be trained as gladiators in south Turkey | Hurriyet Daily News.

… I guess these folks can have competitions from the gang at Regensburg who are Gladiating Through University … not sure ‘costumes’ is the right word to describe what they wear …