Constructing Identities in the Roman Dalmatia: Gladiators of Salona and their Social Status

  • Marko A. Janković Department of Archaeology Faculty of Philosophy University of Belgrade
burial, gladiators, epigraphic monuments, identity, social status, Salona


Inscriptions on stone urns of the gladiators buried in the immediate vicinity of the amphitheatre in Salona offer insight into their social status. Information gained from these inscriptions testifies about the ambivalent attitude of the Roman society towards marginal groups, in this case gladiators. On one hand, these are slaves deprived of the Roman civil rights, with limited field of social action, while on the other hand the mode of burial (stone urn with inscription and image) does not differ significantly from the burials of the Roman citizens of the same period. Although gladiators were very popular, they constituted, along with actors, prostitutes and their procurers, the infames, one of the marginalized groups of the Roman society. In spite of such a social status of gladiators, the urn inscriptions speak about selected information, announced in a way that invokes a certain image – that of the gladiators’ vocation. The paper analyzes this information in order to offer insight into the preferred identity of the deceased, but as well of the ones burying them.


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How to Cite
Janković, Marko. 2011. “Constructing Identities in the Roman Dalmatia: Gladiators of Salona and Their Social Status”. Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology 6 (3), 699-713.