Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Sunday, 22 January 2023

More decapitated Romans

Archaeologists have discovered a series of eleven out of seventeen third century burials where the head of the person has been cut off in a Roman burial ground on the site of the deserted medieval village at Winteringham on the edge of St Neots in Huntingdonshire.

The remains appear to be linked to other similar burials which have been found in recent years. It is apparently not yet clear if they indicate death by judicial or military execution, ‘mercy killing’ of gladiators ( as has been suggested of a series of such burials in York ), or a funeral ritual.
These burials are just part of the history of a village whose history stretched back into the Iron Age.

The report from the BBC News site can be seen at Roman headless remains found by archaeologists

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The mercy killing of gladiators by decapitation doesn't sound at all likely, because injured "noxii" gladiators, i.e. those who had been sentenced to death by combat in the arena, were killed by a hammer blow to the head by someone dressed as Charon, the ferryman of the underworld. They were then dragged out of the arena by hooks through their Achilles tendons.

Injured defeated non-noxii, i.e. "auctorati" (citizens who had sold themselves to a gladiator school for money) or "veterani" (trained and experienced) gladiators, weren't killed at all, assuming the crowd spared them, but were stretchered out of the arena to receive medical attention!


John R Ramsden