Gladiator is one of my favorite movies of all time. I have kind of always wished it could be a true story, just because it’s so awesome. I still get chills when I hear Russel Crowe say, “My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North…” Seriously, goosebumps.

A while back, Zach and I found ourselves burning the candle at both ends, professionally and personally, and decided to take a break for a few weeks, take the kids to Europe, and try to regain our focus. We had a lot of family in Europe and decided to spend that time seeing as much as possible, and maybe even trying a few cosplays with the children. My sister-in-law suggested that we might try Gladiator if we made it to Rome, and that was all the inspiration I needed (there was a moment of self-doubt and concern that Gladiator might actually be a dark theme for a one-year-old, but the obsessed-with-the-idea-of-a-tiny-Gladiator part won out).

Costuming our Gladiator: I actually made this costume from start to finish in about ten minutes, so it wasn’t the highest quality thing I’ve ever sewn, but it WAS super fast and easy, so I am including a bit of a tutorial below the photos for easy reproduction. My sister-in-law helped me out at the last minute, bringing a remnant of red fabric, and two medallions she retrieved from broken shower curtain hooks. We super-glued them on to the shirt portion to make a cape.

As another last minute addition, we toga-wrapped my daughter in a sheet, and had her place a wreath of leaves that we jerry-rigged with some wire on our little champion.

Location: the Colosseum, while amazing, wouldn’t be a very practical cosplay and photo shoot location, even if the stars had aligned and we could have made the pilgrimage to Rome. There is, however, a really amazing Roman amphitheater in Trier, Germany– the largest surviving one outside Rome, if I remember correctly– and it was along the path we planned to drive as we visited our families. There were a few tourists, but the area is so large, and there is so much open space that it was quite perfect for letting our little Gladiator run around freely, play-fight a tiger, and explore.

Speaking of the tiger, this is a must have prop for any Gladiator cosplay!

This is still one of my favorite photo collections of all time, and I’m thrilled to share it with you now:

Photoshoot at the amphitheater in Trier, Germany

Finding Storybookland Gladiator

Finding Storybookland Gladiator

Finding Storybookland Gladiator
Finding Storybookland Gladiator


Here is a simple tutorial for how we made the gladiator costume:

For this photo shoot we created a custom gladiator lightroom preset. You can purchase and download all of my lightroom presets and other time saving photography resources and add ons from my etsy shop.

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