Roman Times and Events: Those about to Die, Chapter 06, Part 8 of 8

(by Daniel P. Mannix)

Carpophorus, still in a daze, did not at first understand what was happening. He continued to stride toward the remaining beasts looking for another tiger. The spearman pulled at the bloody sleeve of his tunic.

"The hunt's over, Carpophorus," he said softly. "The soldiers are clearing the arena for the next act. Come on, let's get out of here."

Carpophorus shrugged him off. A wolf trying to escape from the spears ran past him and Carpophorus kicked at the animal irritably. There were no tigers left.

The crowd had forgotten about the hunt by now and were watching the andabatae, roaring with laughter at the men's clumsy swings. Slaves followed the andabatae, pushing them together with long forked poles.

Carpophorus saw a lion and plunged toward the animal. Martial says that rather than face him, the lion rushed on the spears and was killed.

The line of soldiers was almost up to Carpophorus now. The centurion was yelling, "Get that crazy bastard out of here."

A venator with a cape stepped up quietly behind Carpophorus and threw the cape over his head. Instantly the armed venator and the spearman grabbed the raging bestiarius. They dragged him out of the arena while Carpophorus fought like a madman. Under the stands, the arena doctors were waiting.

"All right, boys, bring him in here," said one of the doctors taking command. Carpophorus was pulled into a small room where several of the venatores were under treatment. The doctor shouted and four giant Negroes hurried over.

Instantly grasping the situation, they seized the raging venator and pulled him to a wooden bed with shackles at the top and bottom.

For a gladiator, or a venator, to go mad with wounds or bloodlust—berserk, the Norsemen used to call it—was a common occurrence.

Carpophorus struggled with superhuman strength but the Negroes were expert man-handlers and he had no chance. They flung him down on the heavy wooden frame and shackled his arms and legs.

"You'll feel better in a few minutes, my boy," said the doctor soothingly as he prepared a potion containing opium. "Some fight you put up. Those tigers are hell, aren't they? Now some people think that lions are worse because they roar and put on a big show, but any good venator can handle a lion. Drink this."

He grabbed the raving man's cheek, taking care not to be bitten, pulled it away from the gums, and skillfully poured the draft down Carpophorus' throat.

"I'll never forget the ludi sollemnes that old Vitellius gave to get the people's minds off the Pannonian mutiny. Fifty tigers in the arena at one time. That was a day! Blood all over the place. Does this man have to fight again today?" he shouted to the Master of the Games who was hurrying past.

"No, but he will tomorrow afternoon," said the Master as he went by.

"You'll be all right by then," the doctor assured Carpophorus, who was now sobbing in great, heaving gasps.

"I'll have the slaves squeeze some blood out of those dead cats and you can drink that. You've lost plenty of blood but that will restore it as well as feed your spirit. Now let's sew up that cut in your shoulder."

Roman Events: Those about to Die, Chapter Seven, Part 1 is next.

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