Venationes ~ Ludi Lupercales 2761 AUC (Nova Roma)
Enroll your animals/gladiators in the Venationes of the Flavian Amphitheatre! Animal entries are limited to dogs, goats, sheep, wolves. You may enter one animal and one gladiator, or two animals.
Entries must contain:
- (a) Your Roman name
- (b) Your entry's name
- (c) Type of animal/gladiator
- (d) Description/history of your entry
- (e) Type of tactics (1=Offensive, 2=Yourself, 3=Defensive)
- (f) If you have a gladiator entry, your Ludus (Ludus Albatus, Ludus Praesinus, Ludus Russatus, or Ludus Venetus).
DEADLINE FOR ENTRIES: Entries must be received NO LATER THAN February 12th.
Submit entries to: firstname.lastname@example.org
In the Flavian Amphitheatre
As the crowds move into the Flavian Amphitheatre, the sounds of construction are deafening to the human ear. Dozens of workers are frantically building the temporary Rostra for tomorrow’s sprint race around the Palatine. Due to the noise and construction, many people have chosen NOT to show up for today’s Venationes. The constant banging and clattering of the workmen have caused several of the contestant beasts to behave wildly and unpredictably. Officials Because of this, most of the lanistae have chosen to forego the day’s event. The remaining supporters, the dedicated ones, have shown up despite the construction work around the Colosseum.
Another factor in today’s low turn-out is the general nature of new competition. This being the first venations event in the Res Publica, since the establishment of the 4 new Ludi schools, the Ludus Albatus and Ludus Russatus are still in recruitment and training phases. Sources from both camps advised earlier this morning that they should be up and running for the upcoming gladiatorial and venations events in Ludi this year. Some of the enrollees have chosen not to participate today in light of tomorrow’s sprint race around the Palatine.
As the supporters find their seats, the Aediles, dressed in the costume of Iuppiter with purple and gold robes, laurel crowns, and vermillion-painted faces greet the crowd, make their welcoming announcements. The blacksmiths are on hand to inspect the weapons to be used in today’s games. The Editor of the day’s games, Quaestor Vitellius, makes some announcements to the various lanistae, and the first match of the games begins…
Semi-Finals Match I
The first match of the day consists of a goat, Yuften, owned by Gaia Aurelia Falco Silvana of Ludus Praesinus, and Lupercius the wolf, sponsored by Quintus Vitellius Triarus Vopiscus of Ludus Venetus.
Yuften is a mountain goat of the Atlas Mountains in North Africa in Provincia Mauretania, his name meaning "The Best" in the language of his homeland. Weighing in at almost 143 kg, he is very agile, and has very strong curved horns which he can use to rip apart acacia trees in search of food. Yuften's species, Ammotragus lervia, is regarded as a sub-species of the goat family (capridae). He normally has a spectacular shaggy front with hair draping from chin to chest to feet. The rest of his tan coat is short, with fringes at the feet.
Yuften is much larger than a domestic goat, and stands as tall as a donkey. Naturally the leader of his herd, he retained his place only by fending off all challenging males, and by destroying predators of all kinds. Yuften has been a challenge for the Domus' trainers at the Ludus Praesinus. He is wise, wily and ruthless. For battle, his horns and hooves have been sharpened to razor edges. The trainers have taken the precaution of clipping his front bib of hair so that dogs and wolves will have less to seize upon if they try to drag his head down. Though short, its thickness still provides protection.
Lupercius is a large Italian Wolf (Canis lupus italicus) also known as an Apennine Wolf, a subspecies of the Grey Wolf of the Apennine Mountains in Italy. He weighs in at approximately 62 kg with a height of nearly 38 inches at the shoulder. He is one of the largest of all the wild canids. Trainers at the Ludus Venetus stated in an interview this morning that he is built for stamina, possessing features ideal for long-distance travel and pursuit of his prey. His narrow chest and powerful back and legs facilitate efficient locomotion. He is capable of covering several miles trotting at about a pace of 10 km/h (6 mph), and has been known to reach speeds approaching 65 km/h (40 mph) during a chase. While thus sprinting, he can cover up to 5 meters (16 ft) per bound.
Lupercius is a dominant wolf, which stands stiff legged and tall. His ears standing erect and forward, hackles bristling slightly, and his tail held vertically and curled toward the back, he asserts his rank in the pack to all who are here viewing him today. As the beasts enter the field with their trainers, Lupercius, asserting his dominant stare at his prey, stands on its hind legs, snarls, rustles his fur bristles, then crouches, ready to attack.
As the match begins, the beasts wildly pursue each other. Lupercius begins to run circles around Yuften, who make a violent head butt each time the wolf stops to make a lunge attack. Yuften seems to be able to hold his own with the wolf. With his bib hair trimmed, Yuften easily fends off the wolf’s frontal attacks. There just doesn’t seem to be anything to grab on to. His sharpened horns carefully shredding Lupercius’ brown and gray fur, little by little, with each attack.
When the frontal attacks do not work, Lupercius shifts his tactics and begins to pursue his prey from behind. Rapidly moving back and forth to stay out of Yuften’s view, the wolf seizes the opportunity to make a leaping lung toward the goat’s hind quarter, when the goat stumbles and falls. This move turns out to be a seemingly fatal one for Lupercius.
As the wolf leaps and attempts to bite the goat’s hindquarter with snarling teeth and what appears to be a ferocious bite, the goat kicks wildly to his rear, his razor sharpened hooves striking Lupercius in the throat and face. The wolf is down and Yuften turns and attempts to issue the final death blow by impaling the wolf on the points of his razor-sharp horns, but the down, but spirited wolf make one last and effective attack, grabbing the goat by the neck and brings the goat down with a carnivorous death bite. The crowd goes wild and starts to chant “Luper! Luper!” Trainers from both the Ludus Praesinus and Venetus enter the field and remove the beasts, while the stadium staff steps in to prepare for the next match.
VICTOR: Lupercius the Wolf
Loser: Yuften the Goat
Semi-Finals Match II
As stadium officials ready for the next match, the next contestants enter the arena. The Red and White, while not represented here today, are choosing sides. The fans of Albatus are siding with the Blues, while the supporters of the Red are supporting Ludus Venetus for the day.
The first combatant into the arena is the Retiarius, Aghila, known as “the Leopard,” also sponsored by Gaia Aurelia Falco Silvana of the Ludus Praesinus. This gladiator was once a trade emissary for the Kingdom of Kush, reporting directly to the former prince known as Al-Hassassin. When Rome destroyed Kush and shipped the Queen and her court to Rome as slaves, Aghila escaped their fate because he was on a trade mission to Carthage. There he began training for his revenge in small, isolated towns where no Roman would ever see the secret and deadly techniques he mastered.
There too, he changed his name to "Aghila", because the leopard hunts alone and is regarded as the most dangerous animal. Aghila does not have the royal aura of command that let his prince, Al-Hassassin, use a constant attack. As a trader in foreign lands, Aghila has often had to extricate himself from sticky and dangerous situations. He is a master observer of people. Every nuance of body language speaks to him. Because he trained in the wilds of Mauretania, he also had to learn to read animal behavior. Aghila uses wile and guile every bit as much as he uses force – and of force he has plenty.
Aghila was born of a Nubian lady and was a Bedouin chieftain. He has the Nubian height and broad shoulders, with the whip-lean Bedouin physique and endurance. When he learned that Al-Hassassin had been killed the ring, Aghila chose to become a gladiator to avenge the honor of his prince. In his career as a trade emissary, Aghila has come to know most of the peoples within the Roman sphere; he understands their fighting styles. He prizes the fighting spirit of the Cimbri and other northerners. Like them, Aghila never, never gives up. Be very careful of his net! His trident moves so fast it seems invisible!
Now, his opponents enter the field. Trainers from the Ludus Matutinus bring in a pack of five wild dogs. Captured on the plains near Herculanum, these dogs are bred of a wild strain, trained to hunt and kill in packs, second only to the Gray Wolves, found throughout the Italian Peninsula. The dogs are barking wildly and with every step attempt to break loose from their trainers and descend upon their Bedouin prey with no mercy. As the trainers release the hounds, the crowd jumps up, fighting with each other to get the better view.
The Bedouin braces for the attack, impaling on the trident the first of the lot, the alpha-male, who leaps through the air at the Bedouin with remarkable skill. But its skill is no match for the veteran leopard-hunter. With the alpha-male down, this causes a brief disorientation with the pack. Two dogs begin to compete for the newly-opened position of leader of the hunting party. Aghila recognizes an opportunity when he sees one, casts his net onto the pair, who become completely entangled in the Bedouin’s net. The remaining two dogs start their attack, circling the Bedouin with stalking silence. The intensity is almost too much for the crowds, who quietly wait to see the Bedouin’s fate. The fist dog makes an ill attempt to deliver a solid bite to the Bedouin, but is promptly eliminated from the match by Aghila. The second makes his attack and suffers the same fate as his brethren. The crowd erupts into sheer pandemonium and yells to the Bedouin to finish off the two remaining dogs, bound up in the net. The Bedouin walks over to the tangled mess, looks down, and signals for the trainers to come remove the dogs from the field. He advises it is unnecessary to continue the match against the helpless animals, as they have already been subdued. The crowd agrees and the Bedouin is hailed as the Victor in what no one would argue was a noble match, display a veteran of sheer skill and determination.
VICTOR: Aghira the Retiarius
Loser: Ludus Matutinus Fighting Dog Pack
Now a brief intermission to allow for the Finals Match preparations. Fans are now up and moving about the Colosseum in anticipation for the upcoming victory match. Vendors are everywhere, selling refreshments of every kind. The musicians are now filing into the Colosseum and taking their places for the Finals match.
The Finals match consists of the victors from the Semi-Finals matches, Lupercius the wolf, sponsored by Quintus Vitellius Triarus Vopiscus, and Aghira, “the Leopard” Retiarius, sponsored by Gaia Aurelia Falco Silvana of the Ludus Praesinus.
As the combatants enter the sandy arena, a small breeze fills the air and causes the banners to beat to a gentle, soothing rhythm. The Editor starts the match and the wolf and the Bedouin retiarius analyze each other. As the wolf circles his prey, the Bedouin stands firm, never losing site of his opponent. The crowd becomes virtually silent. This face-off continues for several minutes, until a large crash from the construction outside the Colosseum, startles both contestants. Lupercius sees this opportunity and lunges toward the Bedouin, who prevents the attack with the utmost skill in the use of his net. The fight is on. The wolf make several more unsuccessful attempts at Aghira, who defends himself well, making a counter-attack with each strike. Now, the Bedouin makes his move. He attempts to smack Lupercius with the flat face of the Trident. He misses. He tries again. He misses again. The wolf backs off and begins to circle the Bedouin again. All of a sudden, the wolf leaps toward the Bedouin in an attempt to make an attack on Aghira’s throat, but the Bedouin, experienced from fighting leopards in this way, sees the attack coming. He side-steps to the left and delivers a crushing blow with the flat side of the trident to the wolf’s head. The wolf meets the trident as if he has hit a stone wall head on with remarkable speed. Lupercius falls to the ground dazed and disoriented. With lightening quick speed, Aghira finishes of the valiant wolf with his trident, and the crowd cheers with acceptance! The Bedouin drops to his knees and offers silent prayers to his Deities.
The officials run out onto the sand and proclaim Aghira the Venationes Victor for the Lupercales match!
VICTOR: Aghira the Retiarius
Loser: Lupercius the Wolf'
The Aediles are now moving out onto the field with the officials and the Victor of today’s games. Quaestor Vitellius presents the Victor with a small leather bag of denarii, Aedile Memmius presents him with a palm branch, and Aedile Lucilius presents him with a golden bowl, engraved with various exotic animals and beastiarii scenes. Citizens from all over the Res Publica begin to throw coins down onto the field. The stadium staff rush to collect the coins, which are then placed in the Victor’s award bowl. Handing the bowl to one of the Aediles’ assistants, Aghira now runs around the perimeter of the amphitheatre, waving the palm, while the crowd cheers. The Aediles remind everyone of tomorrow’s sprint race around the Palatine, then all exit the amphitheatre for the evening’s celebrations and festivities.
The sun sets on Roma, and a beautiful sunset it is.