Ass-Kicking Athletes of Antiquity – Flamma

Flamma (The Flame) was an athlete in a time when being an athlete meant you were willing to expose your soft, supple man flesh to the bitter sting of steel. In other words he was a Roman gladiator.

First things first though, we have to draw attention to Flamma’s name. This guy was rocking ring names long before the ring was even a thing, but here’s the awesome part, Flamma made his ring name stick so fast we’re actually not sure what his real name was. This guy embodied being a stone pimp so hard almost all of the information concerning him, with the sole exception of the ample amount of ass he kicked and his bitchin’ ring name are lost to time. Further proof that history is great at editing.

What little information does exist about Flamma sounds like it has been ripped straight from an excerpt of a gritty reboot of Spartacus. Before he was a gladiator Flamma was noted to be a Syrian soldier. He was captured in battle and condemned to death in the arena at the hands of some other sweaty man destined for death. To be fair to the Romans, Flamma did indeed meet his death in the arena…13 years later.

But for those 13 straight years Flamma utterly dominated the coliseum as a secutor (chaser). For those of you not versed in ancient Roman gladiatorial combat, the secutor was basically from the close-the-distance-to-shove-a-gladius-in-your-rectum school of Roman combat. Armed with a small sword and shield and armored on only one side of his entire body, the secutor was invariably pitted against a retiarius–a guy armed with a long trident and a net whose main method of attack revolved around running away and stabbing you in the offensively unarmored thighs and groin from a distance. Yes, just in case Flamma had to endear himself any more to you, his job was to disembowel the Roman version of Cyrax from Mortal Kombat.

In his lifetime it’s noted that Flamma fought in around 34 fights, winning 21 times, drawing 9 times and losing four times. If you’re wondering how he survived a sport where losing usually meant having your opponent paint the floor an off shade of dark red with your insides, this was the goddamn Flame we’re talking about here, if you don’t think he could suck up a mortal wound, boy are you underestimating just how much the Grim Reaper didn’t want to fight this guy.

Now here’s a fun fact, if a gladiator was able to win enough fights they’d be presented with a small wooden dagger known as the Rudis which granted whomever it was presented to their freedom. They presumably gave such people a wooden weapon because it dramatically decreased the chances of that person’s first act as a free man being to see how many times he could jam it into his former master’s neck.

"Freedom?! Do you mean 'Not drinking blood anymore'?"

“Freedom?! Do you mean ‘Not drinking blood anymore’?”

Flamma earned this right four times. Each time he took the Rudis and promptly ignored the fact he was now an incredibly famous free man with access to all the nubile Roman tail he could plow through, then returned to the coliseum to stab more guys carrying nets. Historians claim that this was due to Flamma being a huge fan of the fame and exposure that stabbing guys brought him. At MCD we’re more inclined to believe that nets did unspeakable things to members of Flamma’s family and he was determined to kill them all.

As mentioned before Flamma fought in the coliseum for 13 years. It’s at this point we’d like to mention that he died aged 30. Meaning that at an age when most of us were still trying to figure out how to make Ramen noodles without burning ourselves in the eye, Flamma was locked in mortal combat with a guy with a giant pointy stick of death fully intent on ramming said stick straight into his gut. And he continued to do exactly that for 13 years until he was finally killed, something that was entirely avoidable since he’d already earned his freedom four times over.

So the next time you’re watching Spartacus on Netflix, spare a thought for Flamma, the gladiator who was ripped from his home and instead of whining about it, focused his energy on stabbing guys with nets, then turned down the chance at being a free man, to go and stab more guys carrying nets. Because those are exactly the kind of people we should look up to.

Dude, you've got a gorgeous girl on your arm -- show no fear.

Dude, you’ve got a gorgeous girl on your arm — show no fear.

Karl Smallwood is a freelance comedy writer that you can hire! His work has been featured on, and you should probably click those links to make sure he isn’t lying. He also runs his own website where he responds to the various pieces of hate-mail he’s gotten over the years, in fact, he got so much hate-mail that he wrote a book about it that you can buy on Amazon. When he isn’t writing, Karl also Tweets and uploads pictures of himself drinking on Facebook.

greatgama Ass Kicking Athletes of Antiquity   Flamma

Why, his mustache alone could best you in combat!

Karl also documented The Most Hilarious Overreactions to Scary Movies. For a more contemporary ass-kicking athlete, check out Karl’s account of the five-decades-and-counting winning streak enjoyed by The Great Gama.

More from Karl Smallwood

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