Vita Gazette

News from Italy

New discovery in Pompeii:

Gladiator drawings drawn by children were found

Vita gazette- Among the latest discoveries made in the ruins of the ancient Roman city, gladiator drawings thought to have been inspired by children watching the battles in the amphitheatre were discovered.

The drawings, thought to have been made by children between the ages of five and seven before Mt. Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, were found on the walls of a back room in the “Island of chaste lovers” residential sector of the archaeological park. These poignant artworks, along with new mythological paintings and the remains of two victims of the 79 AD eruption, are significant additions to our understanding of ancient life.

Gladiators, hunters and fighters. These heroes impressed the children of ancient Pompeii every day, a city 30 kilometres from present-day Naples. Who drew the scenes they witnessed on the walls of their homes. This was revealed by the recent discovery of graffiti and traces of charcoal among the finds in the Pompeii Archaeological Park. On the walls of a courtyard of the so-called collonaded Cenacle house, what site director Gabriel Zuchtriegel defined as drawings by children around the age of 7 were found, which “begin to depict the human figure, with legs and arms coming out straight from the head.”

In Pompeii, where everyone lost their lives in the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD, “even young children were exposed to an extreme form of violence”, explains Zuchtriegel, illustrating the results of a study carried out with psychologists from the Federico University II of Naples. This confirms the custom, made clear by the graffiti, of exposing infants to gladiatorial shows, often culminating in the death of the prisoners and slaves involved.

Other findings

Archaeologists found an unpublished portrait of a hooded child in a house near the collonaded Cenacle residence, perhaps the son of the house’s owners. At the entrance of the same house, however, they recovered the remains of a man and a woman who died during the volcanic eruption. In the same restoration, scholars also brought to light new paintings with a mythological theme.

An excavation in April uncovered a banquet hall filled with well-preserved frescoes depicting characters inspired by the Trojan War. Other discoveries last year included the house containing a cramped bakery where enslaved people were believed to have been imprisoned to produce bread.

The ruins of Pompeii were discovered in the 16th century, and the first excavations began in 1748. Pompeii is the second most visited archaeological site in the world.

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