Philadelphia Metropolis


Memo to the League October 276 A.D.

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 To: All League Officials

From: Gaius Tiberius Germanicus, Consul for Player Safety

Subject: Excessive Violence

Ave Collegae!

Reports have reached us in Rome of incidents of excessive violence in recent games. The league has decided disciplinary steps must be taken.  Ours is the imperial pastime and family sport - not to mention the source of billions of denari for players, managers and owners.  We cannot sully our reputation by permitting these errant actions to continue.

Specifically, we have a confirmed report fromroman-gladiator.jpg Massilla of illegal use of a trident by the player Claudius Maximus in a game against the late Julius Clodius.  League rules permit a clear, direct piercing of the appropriate body part, with below the waist off limits..

Therefore, it was not necessary nor legal for Cladius Maximus to pierce his opponent's chest with his trident, twist it, and then push it out his back 

so the tip of the tines were visible to the crowd.  Their cheering aside, we rule it a cheap hit and fine Maximus 5,000 dinari.  May the Empire Prosper and Grow!

Meanwhile, in Cyrene, Lentus Marcus Ventruvius somehow managed to leap at his opponent, the late Gaius Tacitus, and sever his head from his body in such a way that it rolled several feet, helmet still on, and tripped another player.  We find Ventruvius's argument that there was no violation because of a lack of helmet-helmet contact unconvincing. Our rules against excessive decapitation are clear. Fine: 7,000 denari. Long Live the Emperor!

You know well the league rules against excessive force against our players who are spear throwers.  They wear only light armor and are particularly vulnerable to attack. To remind you, Section XIX, subsection C states: "Spear throwers shall be allowed to aim and fire before a responsive action by an opposing player shall be taken. No excessive force shall be used during the play."  So, how does Publius Vergilius Maro explain his actions last week in Alexandria? Facing Thrower Quintus Valerius Catullus late in the match, Maro launched a pre-emptive maneuver and severed Catullus's arm at the shoulder.  We find his argument that the attack came after the spear was thrown to be not credible. Officials clearly noted on their cards that Catullus's spear was still in his hand when his arm hit the ground.  The standing ovation by the crowd aside, we fine Maro 6,000 dinari. Great is the Glory of Caesar!

We know there will be objections to these fines and the usual complaints by players that they are trained as killing machines and act accordingly. We know there are critics who say that we will rob the game of its thrill and who wonder if our next step will be to replace metal weapons with wooden ones and have the match end after opponents are "tagged" with a weapon.  No such steps are contemplated.

We know this is a violent game.  Kill your opponent? Yes. Run him through with your sword? Yes. Choke him to death with your spiked chains? Fine. These are permitted practices. But, here at League headquarters we are committed to enforcing the rules against excessive violence and we will levy fines and even suspensions if necessary.

Our goal is simple: We want players to engage in responsible violence.

Vale Collegae!



- TF 






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