The divine Emperor Hadrian has issued an official decree, under which the wearing of outlandish costumes during gladiatorial contests at Rome’s Colosseum will no longer be permitted, starting with this week’s Palatine Games, which are sponsored by Mars. Since the time of his father Trajan, many young plebs have worn fancy dress on the third day of tournaments, to the disgust of patricians.
‘About time too,’ snorted Gaius Publius Agricola, senator for Campania Central and a member of the Minervan Censors Committee (MCC), which has laid down the rules for chariot racing and gladiator fighting since the year LXXXVIII. Agricola added that at last month’s wild animal fight, he could barely hear the antelopes’ dying screams because of a group of young hooligans chanting in the Romulus Stand.
‘They were sitting there stark naked with blue skin and false beards, stuffing themselves with sows’ vulvas and singing Gaulish war chants. Apparently they were meant to be Picts. Picts! What appalling disrespect to the brave men of the 6th Legion who died defending our borders against these barbarians under Vespasian,’ said Agricola. ‘Can’t get the slaves these days,’ he added, thrashing a Scythian who was late bringing his wine with a bundle of sticks.
Hadrian’s decree states that anyone found in the Colosseum without the regulation toga and garum-and-larks-eggs tunic will be hurled onto the Tarpeian rock, dredged from the Tiber and nailed upside down to a plank on the Appian Way with their livers hanging out for vultures to peck clean until they die. Repeat offenders, however, cannot expect such leniency.
Some diehard fans are not worried, just as long as they still get to see their heroes stab each other to death every week. ‘Me and my mates all SO fancy Pugnax Aemilianus, the trident and net fighter, he’s well lush, like,’ said Metella Claudia, 14-year-old daughter of a lictor. ‘Oh come to think of it, he was eaten by three panthers last week. So who is it now again?’