The gladiators who put on shows in the coliseums of ancient Rome fought to the death before crowds of adoring fans. Most of them were prisoners or slaves, but some did it for pay and others did it because they enjoyed it. Archeologists say they put on these shows in order to display their fighting skills, that they weren’t only fighting for their lives. Emma Young writes in New Scientist that gladiatorial combat had become a martial art, like kung fu or other Asian martial arts, by the beginning of the first century. They draw this conclusion from researching Roman artifacts and medieval fight books. The daughter of the Roman orator Cicero was a big fan of one particular gladiator. Teens love actors or rock stars the same way today.

Archeologist Steve Tuck says these fights to the death were actually an form of martial art tailored especially to please the watching crowd. We may consider this barbaric, but future historians may think of hockey and the NFL in the same way.

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Crop circles are something else ancient, but they’re still with us today, yet they’re ignored by most of the US media. But those of us who love these magical designs look forward to the new crop circle calendar every year. And while supplies last (which won’t be long), you get a free 2005 calendar with every 2006 crop circle calendar you order. Get crop circle postcards too?they’re a great way to send notes to friends.

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