Gladiators' school discovered outside Vienna

It's still unconfirmed whether Russell Crowe was trained there, but archaeologists have discovered a vast Roman gladiatorial complex on the outskirts of Vienna.

Experts hold that this is the most significant discovery of its kind beyond contemporary Italian borders, and a rival for the famed Ludus Magnus training structure in Rome.

At least 100 such schools once dotted the Roman Empire.

The trainees themselves were typically convicts, prisoners-of-war or slaves, although occasionally ordinary citizens participated, in an attempt to win valour on the public stage.

Besides an Ancient Roman form of celebrity status, some gladiators might ultimately be granted freedom if they displayed exceptional fortitude in the arena.

The recently discovered structure also contains a graveyard, which experts believe was for trainees who failed to make it through the schooling process, a grisly symbol of what was in store for most recruits.

Gladiatorial contests were at their peak from the 1st Century BC to the 2nd Century AD, finally fizzling out in the 5th Century AD, shortly before the fall of the Western Roman Empire.

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