An epic gladiatorial battle from the arena to Queensland Museum

22 June 2017

Featuring more than 110 artefacts unearthed from the amphitheatres of Rome and Pompeii, Queensland Museum’s new exhibition, Gladiators: Heroes of the Colosseum, is set to take visitors on a fascinating journey back in time when it opens tomorrow (23 June).

Premier and Arts Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk said this Australian-exclusive exhibition showcases unique pieces of history alongside interactive games and displays to reveal who the gladiators were, where they lived and how they trained.

“Some of the archaeological treasures on display include actual pieces of the Colosseum, elaborately decorated bronze gladiator helmets, and original arms and armour preserved in the ashes of Pompeii,” she said.

“Securing this exclusive exhibition is a coup for Queensland and builds on the state’s reputation for hosting cultural tourism drawcards.

“As the most visited museum in Australia for the past two years, and attracting a record 1.85 million visitors last financial year, Queensland Museum is certainly capturing the imagination of broad and large audiences.

“Pairing modern technology with 2000-year-old artefacts, Gladiators: Heroes of the Colosseum is yet another example of Queensland’s success at attracting and hosting international events that draw visitors from far afield and contribute to our diverse economy.”

Queensland Museum CEO and Director Professor Suzanne Miller said Gladiators: Heroes of the Colosseum would give visitors the chance to view artefacts never before displayed in Australia, reinforcing the museum’s reputation as an international destination for history aficionados, educators and families.

“The gladiator has become an icon of Ancient Rome, but what we know about them is limited and sometimes misconstrued in blockbuster films,” Professor Miller said.

“This captivating exhibition will give people much greater insight into gladiators’ lives, from their intensive training regimes and armour, to their medical treatment and diet, and the arenas in which they battled, including the world’s most famous amphitheatre – the Colosseum.

“The immersive exhibition, featuring original artefacts from across Italy and on loan from the Colosseum and other Italian institutions, will transport Queensland visitors back to Ancient Rome.

“We are proud to bring this exhibition to Brisbane and give our visitors the opportunity to delve into Roman history and learn how the gladiators lived and the struggles they endured.”

The exhibition will give visitors a taste of life in Ancient Rome by exploring four themes: Origin and development of gladiatorial games; Gladiators; The Colosseum and the amphitheatre of the Roman Empire; and One day in the Arena.

Queensland Museum partnered with Tourism and Events Queensland to secure exclusive Australian rights to the exhibition.

Tourism and Major Events Minister Kate Jones said securing the exclusive Gladiators: Heroes of the Colosseum exhibition was a great outcome for Queensland.

“Tourism and Events Queensland and the Queensland Museum’s strong partnership underlines the continued success in securing exclusive blockbuster cultural events for the state’s growing events calendar,” Ms Jones said “The exhibition is a great addition to Tourism and Events Queensland’s world-class events calendar and a major drawcard for locals and internationals visitors to Queensland.”

Queensland Museum will host a series of complementary programming to support the exhibition, including a free talk by the exhibition’s curator, Responsible Officer for the Colosseum, Rome, Dr Rossella Rea.

Popular After Dark and Night at the Museum events are also programmed, with After Dark held Friday nights on 23 June, 28 July, 1 September, 13 October, 3 November and 1 December, and Night at the Museum on 7 July, 22 September and 27 October.

Visitors will also have the opportunity to enter the draw for the prize of a trip of a lifetime to visit the Colosseum in Rome.

Gladiators: Heroes of the Colosseum is produced by Expona and Contemporanea Progetti and features artefacts from eight Italian museums and institutions, including Bologna, Museo Civico Archeologico; Napoli, Museo Archeologico Nazionale; Roma, Colosseo; Roma, Museo Nazionale Romano; Paestum, Museo Archeologico Nazionale; and Civitavecchia, Museo Archeologico Nazionale.

Ticket prices are: $18 for Adults, $16 for Concessions, $12 for Children and $50 for a Family Pass (2A+2C) and are now on sale via QTIX 13 62 46.

Gladiators: Heroes of the Colosseum will run from 23 June 2017 to 28 January 2018. Visit for more information.

Media enquires:
Christine Robertson/Kylie Hay, Senior Media Officer, Queensland Museum, 3840 7789/0417 741 710
Heidi Jones, Senior Media Officer, Queensland Museum 3842 9388/0416 273 279