Et tu, Spartace? Undercover cops smite rogue Roman gladiators
Gladiator characters are a familiar sight to tourists in Rome.
August 13th, 2011
03:05 PM ET

Et tu, Spartace? Undercover cops smite rogue Roman gladiators

"Strength and honor," the hero Maximus said in the movie "Gladiator." For some of today's Roman gladiators, the motto may be "Strength? Sure. Honor? Not so much."

Italian police disguised as tourists, as street sweepers and even as fellow faux fighters arrested 20 costumed characters who allegedly had been strong-arming tourists and muscling out competitors, The Australian reported. Nine were charged with crimes of violence, according to the report.

The gladiators are familiar to visitors near Rome's prime tourist spots, including the Colosseum, the Forum, Plaza Venezia and the Vatican. The characters typically charge a fee to pose for pictures or give tours.

Some allegedly would offer to take a tourist's photo using the tourist's camera, then demand an exorbitant fee for the camera's return, Third Age reported.

Police said the suspects were members of seven families that worked with five tourist agencies to corner the gladiator market and intimidate competitors at all the best locations, BBC reported.

Undercover police dressed up as gladiators to see if the more thuggish operators would try to put the muscle on them to protect their turf, according to The Australian. They didn't disappoint. When things started to get ugly, the street sweepers dropped their brooms and moved in to cuff the offenders.

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Filed under: Crime • Italy • Travel
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. banasy©

    Hi, Cesar!
    I got rained out BAD while camping, so now I'm sitting at a Day's Inn.
    I'm bored.

    @Mad Hatter:

    Gibbs Slap!
    Love, love, love that show!
    I Gibbs Slap people all the time!
    (My husband more than others...Lol!)
    Never very hard, though, just enough to get the point across...

    August 13, 2011 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Cesar

    Keep dry. Use a hair dryer if you have to.

    August 13, 2011 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
  3. All Hail Cesar

    August 13, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Banasy's Hubby

    I'm a lucky man. Too bad if I Gibbs slapped my little banasy split then she'd cry and call the cops on me. *sigh* Grounds for divorce right there.

    August 13, 2011 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mad Hatter

    It was just a "love" tap.

    August 14, 2011 at 12:10 am | Report abuse |
  6. Mad Hatter

    On both heads.

    August 14, 2011 at 1:11 am | Report abuse |

    "do you find it amusing when i mention the name of my friend biggis dickis? " "guards seize him!!!" i love mel brooks history of the world part one was awesome...

    August 14, 2011 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
  8. gung hoe

    You are a TROLL.

    August 14, 2011 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
  9. banasy©

    It was a joke.

    August 14, 2011 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  10. banasy©

    Besides...he *knows* better...

    August 14, 2011 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  11. RUFFNUTT (roman red smoker)

    when is history of the world part 2 comming out?

    August 14, 2011 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  12. raven

    Hi RuffNutt..long time no see. Hey sista. How ya been banasy.

    August 14, 2011 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |

    YES , WE CAN...YES , WE CAN...WE WILL WIN IN WAR ON TERROR (30 whities or what are terrorists will never come back alive...thank you lord....aaamen).

    What do you mean tragedy! It was just a birthday present for planet apes president !!! That's all ! Feels great to flip hamburgers and hip hop atop of good news...makes you feel vibrant and energized !!!

    ARIZONA = UTOYA = GOVERNMENT‘S "AFTERLIFE" CASH & $$ FLASH MOB (there was no shooting in Utoya or Arizona, but instead tear gas and on faces of multiculturalism maniacs while calling you a terrorists) !!! or


    Whitie is fighting war on terrorism just to come home and be pronounced as terrorist...turned in Timothy, jobless, homeless ...YESSS, WE CAN...YESSS, WE CAN...GABBY OPENED HER EYES (Obaminator’s psychotic speech in Tucson = failed “Apocalypse Now“)


    Don't worry O(s)bama, you have just saved USA what is lots of Dollars in your DEBT DEALS(DEAD AND ILL) as those best of America or Navy Seals would also grew older and then you already know how it goes !!!

    August 14, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Sub Zero

    @banasy: Better him than me.

    August 14, 2011 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
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