Damnatio ad bestias  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Damnatio ad bestias (Latin for "condemnation to beasts") was a form of capital punishment in which the condemned were maimed on the circus arena or thrown to a cage with animals, usually lions. It was brought to ancient Rome around the 2nd century BC from Asia, where a similar penalty existed from at least the 6th century BC. In Rome, damnatio ad bestias was used as entertainment and was part of the inaugural games of the Flavian Amphitheatre. In the 1st–3rd centuries AD, this penalty was mainly applied to the worst criminals and early Christians (Latin: christianos ad leones, "Christians to the lions"). It was abolished in 681 AD.


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  • Fights against wild animals in the arena of the Roman Colosseum were displayed in Gladiator (2000) and other films.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Damnatio ad bestias" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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