JoenSo's avatar

Warrior rabbits - Murmillo

By JoenSo
34 Favourites
22 Comments
161 Views

Warrior rabbits of history returns! This time with a Roman murmillo, a type of gladiator, from the second century AD.

Gladiatorial games were popular in ancient Rome for so many centuries that the Romans themselves weren’t sure how it actually started. But especially early on, the games often consisted of prisoners of war that were forced to fight each other. They were often dressed up and equipped as a kind of stereotypical version of a warrior from their own home country. So a gladiator could for example be a gallus, and play the role as a warrior from Gaul.

Kind of insensitive, huh? And it got even worse after a few centuries when people like the Gauls had been part of the Roman empire for quite some time. Suddenly the parody just isn’t quite as funny. So new types of gladiators started to develop to replace these earlier types. Like the retiarius, equipped like a fisherman with a trident, and the murmillo, that in a far-fetched way was associated with fish. That way, you could have a symbolic fight between a fisherman and a fish. Cool stuff!

Female gladiators - how common were they?
So this rabbit is a murmillo. Its equipment is based on the only known (and confirmed) ancient depiction of female gladiators. That depiction is a 2nd century relief from the ancient city of Halicarnassus, in what is today Turkey. It shows a fight between two female gladiators with the awesome stage names Amazon and Achillia. They aren’t wearing the characteristic helmet, but otherwise they are equipped like murmillos. Including the weird detail of having an armguard (manica) over only one arm, and a greave on only one leg. This rabbit happens to be left-handed, so you can see that the armguard covers the sword arm, while the greave protects the leg on the same side as the arm that would hold the shield.   

Otherwise, we know precious little about female gladiators. They are mentioned in ancient sources, so we can be pretty sure that they existed. But was it just unusual to see a female gladiator or one in a billion kind of rare? We don’t know. When the emperor Domitian held games with female gladiators around 90 AD, he seems to have done it just because he thought it was fun to be kind of scandalous and to upset the Romans and their strict views on gender and morals. If you google, you'll probably find pictures of a sculpture that people will claim is of a female gladiator. Others will say it just depicts a woman cleaning herself. Female skeletons have been found in graveyards dedicated to gladiators. Some will say it's evidence for female gladiators, some will say it's evidence that the family of the male gladiators could also be buried in these graveyards. That's how it is, we keep getting tiny hints and we can't really be sure in what direction these hints point.

So maybe it says a lot that this only depiction of female gladiators was found all the way off in Halicarnassus, at the outskirts of the empire. Where the views on what women could or could not do might not have been as strict as back in Rome itself.

And maybe you wonder how that fight between Amazon and Achillia ended? Apparently they both survived and the match ended in a tie. What happened to them after that? Like so much in history, we just don’t know. 

Check out some more warrior rabbits!
Warrior rabbits - Highlander by JoenSo Warrior rabbits - Landsknecht by JoenSo Warrior rabbits - Jaguar knight by JoenSo Warrior rabbits - Scythian archer by JoenSo Warrior rabbits - Peltast by JoenSo Warrior rabbits - Rodelero by JoenSo

IMAGE DETAILS
Image size
2480x3508px 5.45 MB
Published:
© 2019 - 2020 JoenSo
Comments22
anonymous's avatar
Join the community to add your comment. Already a deviant? Log In
cullyferg2010's avatar

Is the beginning of Judy Hopps family line?

JoenSo's avatar
JoenSoHobbyist General Artist

From gladiators to carrot farmers to police officer. Interesting family history.

cullyferg2010's avatar

Gotta make a living along this journey.

PhyloSallas's avatar
PhyloSallasHobbyist Traditional Artist
Gosh, that was fascinating...female warriors have always intrigued me, as I draw a lot of such characters. It's good to know they existed, and it would be so cool to know more about them. As is, thanks for the lesson, and the great art!! ^_^
JoenSo's avatar
JoenSoHobbyist General Artist
Glad to hear it! I've wanted to focus more on female warriors in this little series, but they are of course few and far between in history. And like with the female gladiators, you'll often have tantalizing hints but not enough evidence to get a clear picture. Then there are of course a lot of individual women who were leaders/commanders and maaaybe warriors themselves, like Ching Shih and Boudica
PhyloSallas's avatar
PhyloSallasHobbyist Traditional Artist
Man...I find them really interesting! It's a shame all these facts were likely buried by men. :/ I'd love to have learned about all these great female warriors. c:
JoenSo's avatar
JoenSoHobbyist General Artist
Maybe you have heard about the viking warrior found here in Sweden. Who was buried with weapons and all that, and everyone assumed it was a man until it just a few years ago turned out she was a woman. Was pretty interesting to see how difficult it is to interpret archaeological evidence, as you always have your own biases. So some people saw it as evidence that viking women could be warriors, while others saw it as evidence that vikings could be buried with weapons even if they weren't warriors themselves. Personally I find it more likely that she actually was a warrior of some kind. But it shows how much assumptions and guesses are involved in archaeology. 
PhyloSallas's avatar
PhyloSallasHobbyist Traditional Artist
Oh wow...that's fascinating! Yeah, we often don't realize how much guesswork there is in science, lol...especially dealing with archeological stuff. That is such a cool find, though! Thanks for telling me about it! ^_^
JoenSo's avatar
JoenSoHobbyist General Artist
No problem! Here's the wikipedia article about her if you want to know more: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birka_fe…
PhyloSallas's avatar
PhyloSallasHobbyist Traditional Artist
Oooh, thanks!! I gotta take s look at that. ^_^
SulaimanDoodle's avatar
SulaimanDoodleHobbyist Traditional Artist
Fantastic. glad to see warrior rabbits back :D
JoenSo's avatar
JoenSoHobbyist General Artist
Thanks a lot :D Really glad to hear they're appreciated!
SulaimanDoodle's avatar
SulaimanDoodleHobbyist Traditional Artist
Very welcome! What other warriors you got lined up?
JoenSo's avatar
JoenSoHobbyist General Artist
Well, we'll see when I actually have time to finish any! But I do have half-finished sketches of fun stuff like Genoese crossbowmen, Swiss pikemen and a Swedish Carolean lying around.
SulaimanDoodle's avatar
SulaimanDoodleHobbyist Traditional Artist
Genoese Crossbowmen? In Total war they were the bane of my existence in campaign XD

How bout viking wolf warrior? Or Huscarl?
JoenSo's avatar
JoenSoHobbyist General Artist
Haha! Yeah, I remember they were quite insane in Medieval 2. Shot through armor like it wasn't even there. 

Well, I have thought of drawing vikings in general, or Varangian guards!
SulaimanDoodle's avatar
SulaimanDoodleHobbyist Traditional Artist
And they were great in melee! 
JoenSo's avatar
JoenSoHobbyist General Artist
There was just no stopping them! Even heavy cavalry were in trouble if you didn't get a perfect charge on them.
View all replies
DCLeadboot's avatar
DCLeadbootHobbyist Digital Artist
He seems a pretty confident little fellow! :)
JoenSo's avatar
JoenSoHobbyist General Artist
I guess you had to be either pretty confident or pretty desperate if you volunteered to be a gladiator! 
DCLeadboot's avatar
DCLeadbootHobbyist Digital Artist
Indeed :o

Gladiator: I'm ready. I've whetted the edge of my sword.
Master of Ceremonies: Yeah, that can happen when you're nervous.
JoenSo's avatar
JoenSoHobbyist General Artist
Hahaha! :D
anonymous's avatar
Join the community to add your comment. Already a deviant? Log In