Date of Completion


Document Type

Honors College Thesis



Thesis Type

Honors College, College of Arts and Science Honors

First Advisor

John Franklin


gladiators, performers, mosaics, epigraphy, tombstones, graffiti


This paper will focus on the construction of representational tropes depicting the ancient Roman arenas and those involved with them, particularly within the spectacles of gladiatorial battles. The conceptions of representation within the arena influenced how differing Roman social groups perceived one another through social ideals and identities. I will analyze this by looking at three major methods of representation from the ancient Roman world: (1) literary sources, (2) epigraphical materials (inscriptions and graffiti), and (3) visual sources (mosaics and reliefs). These sources reflect the different characteristics of the Roman arenas and are defined by various social contexts, displaying how different ideals relating to the arena and its performers were valued within greater Roman society. I will examine these ancient ideals on representation by relating them to anthropological and sociological concepts related to the representation and public perceptions of athletes and sports. This includes representations of the body, masculine ideals, social status, and others.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.