I am currently preparing to work on a short story involving the lives of werewolves in the gladiatorial games in Ancient Rome. It will be from the werewolves' perspective. I got this idea from reading in Dr. Bob Curran's "Vampires: A Field Guide to the Undead", that there is a belief that werewolves existed and were used heavily by the Romans in their gladiatorial games. So, I'm wondering, could anyone possibly recommend some sites with information on this so I could do some research, and possibly some books on it (nonfiction, if possible). I would dearly appreciate it. Thanks! ;)
June 25th, 2007, 02:45 PM
I've never heard of anything about werewolves, but if you're trying to create an (otherwise) authentic world, check out unrv.com. It's a website that's entirely dedicated to Ancient Rome—history, culture, military. There might be stuff about the games; can't say for sure. Sorry if this doesn't help . . .
Edit: I know there are plenty of books on gladiators. I'd punch in "gladiators" on Wikipedia and look at the sources at the bottom of the page. They should be there. As for werewolves, I have no idea.
June 25th, 2007, 08:21 PM
Mage, if you're going to suggest Wikipedia for gladiators, why not suggest it for werewolves, too? I mean, you gotta take it with a grain of salt, of course, but it's an easy place to go for a quick fix of information in varying degrees of accuracy. If the article itself doesn't suit your fancy, they've got bibliographies and off-site links you can follow up on. Of course, there's always Google as well.
(As a side note, the description of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy conveniently applies to Wikipedia. All it's lacking is the words "DON'T PANIC" in large, friendly letters on the cover.)
June 26th, 2007, 12:47 PM
If you write it and get it sold, I'll buy the magazine it's in. :)
You'll probably need to research two-pronged: 1) Roman history and the gladiator games in particular and 2) werewolves, which is folk history and mostly from Eastern Europe, not counting modern incarnations.
June 29th, 2007, 11:42 PM
I've searched on the recommendations you guys have suggested, and so far have't found anything related to what I'm looking for. Any other ideas?
July 1st, 2007, 06:07 AM
Maybe you need to be a little more specific about what you're after. I have a hard time believing you came up completely blank with Google and whatnot. If you don't mind my asking, what's your experience doing research? That could be the greater factor in your lack of success.
July 1st, 2007, 11:06 AM
Well, I looked up "werewolves in the Roman Gladiatorial games", and all I came up with was either results for werwolves or gladiatorial games, not a mixture of the two. The only one I found was about Alice Borchardt's series about a werewolf from a Celtic clan being captured by the Romans and becoming a gladiator. Then I searched for "werewolves in Ancient Rome" and "werewolves in the Roman Empire" all I really found was a reference to a legend that Romulus and Remus might have been werewolves because they were suckled by a she-wolf.
July 1st, 2007, 12:43 PM
So you're looking for specific Roman legend or folklore about werewolves in the gladiator games? I'm not sure there are any. You will probably have to research it on two tracks -- the gladiator games and how they operated, and werewolves and the body of mostly European folklore that surrounds the idea. Now, there may have been werewolf legends in ancient times. Egypt might be worth checking out there. But there might not be any stories specifically about werewolves and gladiators.
This Curran book -- if it's humorous fiction, I would assume he made it up. If it's an academic work about vampire mythology, then he might have a bibliography of his research, which would be a good place to start.
July 1st, 2007, 09:06 PM
Lycanthropy isn't a theme in any Roman myths or legends I'm familiar with. Of course you didn't find anything. Wasn't the whole point of this story to do something unusual? If everyone and their grandmother already had stories of werewolf gladiators, it'd kinda take away the novelty of the idea, now wouldn't it?
Like Kat said, research the two separately. I mean, if I were planning on writing a Shakespearian spaghetti western, I'm not going to research Shakespearian spaghetti westerns 'cause, to my knowledge, there aren't any. However, if I research Shakespeare on his own terms and spaghetti westerns on its own terms, I'll have all the material I need to create my monster.
I wonder what type of gladiator a good werewolf would be. I'd like to see a lycanthropic retiarius, but I don't think he could fit the helmet over his snout (unless he's a snub-nosed Lon Chaney type). Then there's the matter of the paws being able to hold the trident right and whether or not there's enough lateral flexibility to throw the net right...
On that train of thought, how anthropomorphic are these werewolves of yours? If they're more the American Werewolf in London type, it's basically the same effect as a venator match. Damnati ad bestias would be a bit more dicey, though. I mean, if critter didn't kill those poor unfortunate souls... (That is, of course, assuming that lycanthropy's contagious in your system.)
July 1st, 2007, 10:49 PM
Oh, I plan on them being pretty darn anthropomorphic, like the werewolves you see in Van Helsing and Underworld, and in the Werewolf:the Apocalypse RPG. For the whole werewolf thing, I'm planning on incorporating something involving the barbarian Germanic tribes, since they believed in Fenris the Wolf God and all that. Maybe, the Romans in one of there conquests in the North capturing a tribe that is a werewolf tribe.