Were There Jewish Gladiators? A Re-Evaluation of the Available Archaeological and Textual Evidence

Haggai Olshanetsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The participation of Jews in the arena, especially as gladiators, has received relatively little attention. The few articles written on this matter suggest that Jews were both spectators and participants. The present paper relates to all previously suggested indications for the existence of Jewish gladiators and also introduces new ones. Although the possibility that Jewish gladiators were active in the first–fourth centuries CE cannot be ruled out entirely, the evidence remains inconclusive, suggesting that their number was very limited at best. It is also suggested that if Jews had participated in the games, they possibly preferred to fight beasts rather than men.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-147
Number of pages29
JournalAtiqot
Issue number111
StatePublished - Jun 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Israel Antiquities Authority. All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • Colosseum
  • Jews
  • Judaism
  • Roman Games
  • arena
  • gladiators

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