THEY are perhaps history's most celebrated fighters, noble warriors said to have no fear of dying in bloody hand-to-hand combat.
The gladiators of ancient Rome have inspired writers, artists, blockbuster filmmakers - and now the latest bizarre nightclub craze. Box Wars aim to recreate the sound and fury of the Roman amphitheatre in front of crowds of clubbers - but with one or two crucial differences.
While the emperors kitted out their gladiators in armour and armed them with swords, harpoons and lances, their modern counterparts will be armed with cardboard tubes and protected by old boxes.
Dozens of cardboard-clad warriors are set to battle it out at a Box Wars night at the Forest Cafe in Bristo Place on February 11.
Originating in Australia, the popularity of Box Wars has spread, largely via the internet, to Canada and the United States.
Edinburgh-based Australians have now introduced it to the Capital. They describe it as "pointless" and a game for "idiots with a ridiculous sense of humour".
Professional circus performer Kyle Greenwood, 20, of Newington, who recently moved to the city from Melbourne, said that he and friends had staged two battles which had proved so popular they had been forced to move to a bigger space.
He said: "You could compare it to gladiators. You can spend hours making the suits, they look completely idiotic and then they get broken. You know the end has come when no one has any cardboard left on."
In Box Wars everyone fights at once and battles usually last around 15 minutes. There are no winners, no losers and no prizes.
At the last Box Wars participants fought against a cardboard mock-up of Edinburgh Castle.
Mr Greenwood, who introduced Box Wars in Edinburgh with his friend, 19-year-old Demian Hobby, explained how it took off.
"Growing up in Melbourne some friends of ours started getting drunk and hitting each other with random recyclables.
"One day there was a huge party and people made cardboard suits of armour. After posting photos online, it caught on quickly and there are now groups in Sydney, Canada and the US."
Mr Greenwood said this time they were hoping to fight along to the live rhythms of punk band, Hoi Polloi.
"Box Wars is a punkish thing to do and they would really fit the bill."
The circus performer said at the last event they had played music from the Dead Kennedys and The Ramones on the PA.
"There are no rules. It's a real melee. People just go at each other to have fun," he said.
To get involved in Box Wars participants make their own suits of armour and weapons from cardboard they collect anywhere they can. Organisers recommend cardboard hunting in the alleyways behind Princes Street and near fabric workshops for good card.
Barney Waygood, administrator at the Bongo Club on Holyrood Road, said he thought Box Wars would go down a storm and would consider hosting it at the club.
He said: "Box Wars sounds amazing and fits in with New Wave music which is becoming popular again."