New fresco with gladiators discovered in Pompeii

The fresco was found in what scientists believe was a tavern frequented by gladiators

The fresco was found in what scientists believe was a tavern frequented by gladiators

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.

"Very probably the fresco decorated a place used by gladiators, perhaps a watering hole ...frequented by prostitutes", a statement from Pompeii said.

"We do not know how this fight ended. Gladiators were killed or shown mercy", Pompeii's director Massimo Osanna said.

According to, a "Murmillo" fighter wearing a plumed, wide-brimmed helmet with a visor is seen holding a large shield and a sword. Nearby lies the shield of a defeated "Thraex", who has suffered a deep wound.

"Of particular interest in this fresco is the extremely realistic representation of the wounds, such as those to the wrist and to the chest of the losing gladiator, from where blood is pouring down his legs".

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 discovery was made during works to secure an area of the north of the archaeological park under the Great Pompeii Project, launched after years of bad maintenance and poor weather caused a series of wall collapses.

The ruined city in southern Italy is the second most visited tourist site in the country, after the Colosseum in Rome, with more than 3.6 million visitors in 2018.

Pompeii was a flourishing city destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. Last October, the finding of a charcoal inscription suggested that the eruption happened in October 79 A.D. rather than August of the same year, as was previously believed.

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