Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Retiarii, the Net Fighters

Before the Internet, how would someone like bink--someone with no political, financial, or organizational power--have made an impact on an archbishop?

RIGHT: Net-fighter, from Last Days of Pompeii

The retiarius was a lightly-armed/-armoured and gladiator who fights with a net. (rete = net)

Nets are associated with fishers and the sea, and generally with the realm of the feminine.

You could see the net-fighters' faces because, unlike other gladiators, they didn't wear helmets.

According to Wikipedia:
"The gladiator's lack of armour and reliance on evasive tactics meant that many considered the retiarius the lowliest (and most effeminate) of an already stigmatised class (i.e. gladiators).
Nevertheless, Roman artwork, graffiti, and grave markers include net-fighters who apparently had reputations as skilled combatants and lovers."

LEFT: Astyanax vs Kalendio mosaic (4th c. A.D.), from the National Archaeological Museum in Madrid:

Kalendia, the retiarius (right), having thrown his net over the helmeted & armoured secutor gladiator Astyanax, attacks him with his trident.
The referee stands by, awaiting the outcome.

Image from here.

4 comments:

ArtSparker said...

There's something of the ninja about the idea of net-fighters- it may have to do with throwing things.

Clowncar said...

I like that the graffiti writers knew what time it was.

I also like the implication that bink, and artists in general, are the net-fighters of out day.

Margaret said...

What mean "before the Internet"?

"People who didn’t live pre-Internet can’t grasp how devoid of ideas life in my hometown was. The only bookstores sold Bibles the size of coffee tables and dashboard Virgin Marys that glowed in the dark. I stopped in the middle of the SAT to memorize a poem, because I thought, This is a great work of art and I’ll never see it again . . . I just put my pencil down and started memorizing. Later I came across the poem in a library. It was “Storm Windows,” by Howard Nemerov."

- Mary Karr

After I read this I looked up "Storm Windows" on the Internets. Took me 10 seconds.

Fresca said...

SPARKER: Stealth.

CLOWNC: The time?
Yes, artists, but maybe all of us of the "not highly efficient" tribe are now equipped to be net-fighters...

RETZ: I read the whole Karr interview--then put a library hold on her book "Lit"--thanks!
I've never read her, have you?