The Rudis – Sword of Freedom
A rudis is a wooden sword received by a gladiator who achieved earning his freedom or retirement. It was carried with him as proof of his accent from slavery and that he was now a freeman. The ex-gladiator now referred to as a rudiarii was now free to retire or seek other employment. Many rudiarii would continue to work as a manager, trainer or referee in the gladiatorial sport. Some would even choose to fight in the arena to continue their former glory they achieved as a slave. These rudiarii were the most successful and most achieved confident gladiators that were highly skilled and feared by all that would face them.
Today we don’t have gladiatorial combat in the same way as they did in ancient Rome but the rudis tradition has adapted and become a right of passage symbol for someone who has reached the end of their career and earned a retirement or ‘survived’ a certain posting. It is a symbol of pride and recognition of an achievement. It represents the freedom from your employment, your employer and the independence that you have fought many years for. A wonderful gift idea for the retired or someone choosing a new career path.