Words by Calasade

Depending on the context, the Latin word ludus can indicate the game, show, sport, pastime, entertainment, and school. Heck, it can even mean fun. But here, we’re concerned with ludus as a gladiatorial school.

The building, commonly known by the name of “barracks of the gladiators,” was actually built at the beginning of the first century BC and was likely intended as a place where spectators gathered prior to and during intervals of shows taking place in the adjoining Teatro Grande (theater). The building’s purpose as we know it today, as a ludus gladiatorius, was a consequence of the earthquake that occurred in 62 AD. This re-purposing is largely confirmed by the findings on the inside of two boxes containing clothes with gold embroidery and a number of bronze weapons and armor, as well as murals and graffiti scenes of gladiators.

Okay, but enough of the history lesson, eh? Let’s get to what’s important. What you feel when you step into the ludus. You feel History, sure, but if you’re even a little spiritually sensitive, you’ll sense far more. It’s not haunted, mind you, in the traditional sense (least ways I saw no ghosts), but the place will haunt you. Seep into your bones, give you a chill in a way that few places outside Agatha Christie’s imagination can.

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