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Photos: Burbank brings gladiators to arms in historical reenactment, 'Spartacus and the Roman Legion'

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Mae Ryan/KPCC

Peter and Carly Hopkins dress in their Roman costumes for the performance of Spartacus and the Roman Legion at the Equestrian Center in Griffith Park.

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Olivier Brocard plays Spartacus at a performance in Burbank. Brocard is a member of Histore'Event, which brought Spartacus and the Roman Legion to the Equestrian Center in Griffith Park on December 15th, 2012.

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Lori Anne Hambly, a member of Legion Six Historical foundation, plays Pompeia in Spartacus and the Roman Legion.

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Mae Ryan/KPCC

The French performers in Histore'Event train everyday to prepare for their gladiator fights.

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Mae Ryan/KPCC

The french troupe Histore'Event draws crowds of 25,000 when they perform in Nimes.

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Mae Ryan/KPCC

A member of the Legion Six Historical Foundation plays dead at the Spartacus and Roman Legion performance. The show is based on events that took place in 73 BC.

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Mae Ryan/KPCC

Members from the The Legion Six Historical Foundation wait to fight at the Spartacus and the Roman. Historical re-enactors from all over California participated in the event.

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Mae Ryan/KPCC

Performers surge forward to fight the Roman Legion.

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Mae Ryan/KPCC

Many of the actors in the French Histore'Event have training in martial arts.

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Mae Ryan/KPCC

Members of Gaesatae recreate ancient Celtic history. The non-profit group educates the public in the life and customs of late Iron Age continental Celtic culture.

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Mae Ryan/KPCC

The French troupe says that most gladiators actually did not always fight to the death, but rather some grew old and eventually became referees in the games.

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Mae Ryan/KPCC

Michael Gallion goes by Marcus Pointius when he's in costume.

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Mae Ryan/KPCC

Members of Gaesatae rehearse their fighting for the Spartacus and the Roman Legion performance.

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Mae Ryan/KPCC

David Simuro plays Charon, the ferryman of Hades, for the first time in his 14 years as a historical reenactor.

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Mae Ryan/KPCC

Performers brandish swords in Spartacus and the Roman Legion, which depicts Spartacus as he provokes a revolution and is eventually killed by the Romans.

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Mae Ryan/KPCC

Pierre Chambaud, a member of the french group Histore'Event, is captured by the Roman Legion. This is the French troupe's first event in the U.S. and they hope to tour more states in 2013.

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Mae Ryan/KPCC

Performers walk onto the stage at the Equestrian Center in Griffith Park on December 15th, 2012.


Togas... in Burbank?

It makes sense if you're watching "Spartacus and the Roman Legion," a French historical reenactment that has gladiators clad in ornate helmets and dusty tunics marching through the Equestrian Center in Griffith Park.

On Saturday, French reenactment troupes brought over 60 performers to portray the story of Spartacus, a rebel gladiator who became a legendary leader in a failed slave uprising against the Roman Republic. After that: accurate gladiatorial combat, minus real deaths.

According to the Burbank Leader, the audience gets involved, so outcomes vary.

"It's real fighting, like you can see in the UFC or MMA — that's why we're training every day," Olivier Brocard, who plays Spartacus, told the Burbank Leader. "There is interaction with the public because we don't know who will win. The public will decide, like 2,000 years ago, if we have to die or live.”

The gladiators will bring their weapons together again at 3:00 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012.

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