Memories of Turkey – Gladiator Arena
In 2013 A friend of a friend, Mehmet, who worked at the wonderful Aspendos ancient theater had a dream to recreate the small slave gladiator stadium from the movie Gladiator with a view to having live action recreation battles and charge admission.
I was lucky enough to be able to help in a small way building the arena and seeing the project develop literally from the ground up till the first shows.
It took a few shows to find a good formula but Mehmet found some Turkish wrestlers and actors to play the role of the Gladiators, he made a story around the legend of Spartacus and choreographed some great fights. Mehmet crafted all the swords, weapons and armour himself, all were the real deal, heavy steel and if you got hit by these heavy steel swords by accident then you would get a bad injury. Throw in a “slave market” show outside, some period(ish) shops, some part time entertainment, flame throwers and “slave dancers” and it made a great show.
Even more special for me is that my awesome mother got to be Empress for an evening when she was visiting in 2013, Mehmet found an outfit and she played Royalty a little too naturally! Riding in on a chariot beside the emperor waving to her subjects :). Another unforgettable experience.