New fresco with gladiators discovered in Pompeii

Brunilde Fioravanti
Ottobre 13, 2019

An intact fresco portraying fighting gladiators has been unearthed by archaeologists in Pompei, the ancient Roman city buried under a thick carpet of volcanic ash in 79 AD.

The building was situated not far from the gladiators' barracks in Regio V, an entire quarter of the site that has recently offered up several impressive archaeological finds but is yet to open to the public.

The 3ft by 4.5ft fresco is located in the Regio V site, in the northern section of Pompeii's archaeological park, in an area not now accessible to visitors.

"Very probably the fresco decorated a place used by gladiators, perhaps a watering hole, also frequented by prostitutes", Massimo Osanna, director general of the archaeological park, told The Associated Press.

The fresco was discovered on a wall below a staircase in what was probably a tavern frequented by gladiators, with accommodation upstairs either serving as lodgings for the owners or as a brothel.

The losing gladiator is holding up his finger to "implore mercy", Prof Osanna said.

As part of a multi-million project founded by the European Union, Pompeii is now undergoing its most extensive excavations since the 1950s, with archeologists removing tons of debris from long-buried areas of the city.

Italy's culture minister, Dario Franceschini, hailed the discovery on Friday, noting that "a few years ago Pompeii was known around the world for its negative image. Today's story is one of redemption".

Perhaps the most significant find at the Regio V so far has been an inscription uncovered previous year that proves the city was destroyed by Mount Vesuvius after October 17, 79 AD and not on August 24 as previously thought.

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