An unnamed gladiator to a lion, c. 39 BCE

Everyone was happy to see the gladiator and the lion were friends in real life.

Lion!

Are you under the misconception that you are stronger than I am? You could not be more mistaken. Tomorrow when we face each other in the stadium, we’ll just see who’s stronger, won’t we? It will be me, because of my superior musculature and mental focus.

I have previously met your mother in human-animal combat and she is exceptionally heavy for a lion of her age. I suppose she cannot control herself when it is time to eat the gladiators. I made love to her before I ripped her jaws apart with my bare hands. Ooh, that hurts, doesn’t it?

Do not behave as though your excrement smells of hibiscus! It smells as foul as my own.

Oh, and your mate’s feces also give off an unusual stench. I know this because I committed certain acts of bestiality with her in her cage last night. I interpreted from her roaring and purring that she wanted to experience what it would be like to be with a real man. She thinks the scars of my previous battles are sexy.

You think you are just going to walk onto the battlefield tomorrow and eat me, but think again. I possess exceptional powers that will outmatch you.

Also, I want it more.

– Gladiator CXIII

Analysis:

This letter, discovered by a family of five vacationing in Rome in 2001, is the first known example of trash-talking in the Western World. Of course, the Chinese invented trash-talk thousands of years earlier, a necessary counterpart to Mah Jong, and then successfully used it to conquer much of the East.

The gladiator in question, number 113, was a slave from Crete and originally drafted in 41 BCE as a promising young upstart. He then experienced a disappointing first two seasons in which he was not eaten in a dramatic fashion. In fact, he killed a particularly vicious lioness, which Marc Antony called “a real shame and a waste of a perfectly good cat.”

Gladiator 113 hit his stride in the third season. He finally overcame his fear of disappointing his father, got the girl, and made his triumphant return to the Crete stadium where he had admired gladiators from a young age. There he rekindled his love of the sport and brought his team to a bloody and extremely fun-to-watch end.

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