Russell Crowe Joins Fight To Save Gladiator’s Tomb
words by Carol King
Hollywood star Russell Crowe has voiced his support to save the tomb of the Ancient Roman hero who inspired the film ‘Gladiator’ (2000).
The award-winning blockbuster is close to the Australian actor’s heart. ‘Gladiator’ won five Oscars, including Best Picture, and a Best Actor gong for Crowe for his role as a Roman general, Maximus Decimus Meridius.
Crowe’s character was based on real-life Roman general Marcus Nonius Macrinus, whose tomb was discovered in Rome in 2008. Because of dramatic budget cuts, the city is to rebury the 45-foot-high marble mausoleum dedicated to the general, who advised Emperor Marcus Aurelius and fought Germanic tribes in the second century.
The tomb is situated along the River Tiber on Via Flaminia and an estimated €2 to €3 million is needed to protect it against winter weather. The city has proposed reburying the tomb as being the cheapest solution to the problem and a way of preserving it.
Crowe told ‘La Repubblica’: “Of all the great nations of the world, Italy in particular should be a leader in promoting the importance of exploring and preserving the ancient past.”
He continued: “The members of Rome’s council should always encourage Italians to be proud of the achievements and glorious history of their country.”
The actor is supporting the American Institute for Roman Culture’s online petition to preserve what it calls “one of the most important discoveries in Rome in decades.” If necessary, the institute will help raise funds to prevent the monument’s return to oblivion.
The petition says: “The site of the ‘Gladiator Tomb’ is one of overwhelming cultural and historic value not only for Italy but for all of humanity... we believe that the study of site should continue and the site should not be abandoned nor reburied. Currently, the funding of cultural heritage in Italy (and the world) is, indeed, lamentably lacking, but the ‘Gladiator Tomb’ site is exactly the sort of discovery that serves to remind us we need to support heritage sites beyond the initial excavation, discovery, and study.”
Archaeologists, academics, scientists and members of the public have signed the petition, which is at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/save-the-tomb-of-the-gladiator-in-rome.