Female-gladiator fights appear to have been rare spectacles in the Roman Empire. But new analysis of a statue in a German museum adds to the evidence that trained women did fight to the death in ancient amphitheaters, a new study says. The bronze statuette is only the second known representation of a female gladiator, according to study author Alfonso Manas, of Spain's University of Granada. Manas believes the woman is holding a sica, a short, curved sword associated with a type of gladiator known as a thraex, or Thracian. Thraexes typically fought in plumed helmets, with small shields and metal leg guards called greaves.
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If this is true, it would be the second known statue of a female gladiator in existence. Despite missing a hand and part of a leg she is pretty intact, which is a lot to say for antiquity sculpture. There was various reprinting of the original article, all reporting the rarity of the statue and making the case for the existence of female gladiators during Ancient times using a multitude of literary and physical sources. So we all agree now that there were female gladiators. But it got me to wondering, just who was that naked female gladiator in real life?