Ever since Ridley Scott’s Gladiator was released, most people tend to think of Maximus Decimus Meridius when they think of the gladiators of the Roman Empire. However, Russell Crowe’s character in the movie could have been inspired by another Hispanic gladiator. Not just any fighter, but the best gladiator to have ever fought in the known arena.
This gladiator, known as Borea, is the most decorated of the Roman Empire. He is the only one to have a bronze teapot, which was a plaque or small sculpture that served as a sign of an agreement, password, or honorary distinction. Out of the more than 100 given to gladiators that have been found so far, Borea’s is the only one made of bronze, which was the most noble and distinguished material of the Roman Empire.
Borea, who originally came from what is now León, enjoyed a VIP seat in the stands of the Ilipula amphitheater in Huelva, thanks to this treasure that is now in the National Archaeology Museum. The teapot was given to Borea around the year 64 AD by a Lanista from the current area of Orense.
As a provocateur, Borea fought with helmets with two visors, a rectangular shield like that of the Roman legionaries, and a short sword. He was also well protected with armor on his arms, chest, and legs. Unfortunately, there is scarce data about his past, but until more is known or another similar treasure is found, Borea will remain the most famous and recognized gladiator of the Roman Empire.