Turk Neurosurg 2019 ;29(4):459-463
Istanbul Okan University, Vocational School of Health Services, Division of Operating Room Services, Istanbul, Turkey.
Artists use their work to help us understand the universe. With their creations, we can rest our souls, find some solutions to problems, and even explore new dimensions. A 19th-century artist, Gérôme, has depicted a gesture used to ask for mercy as a benediction sign in two of his works of art dealing with gladiatorial fighting. A warrior defeated in a gladiator combat is well known to ask for mercy with the extended index finger and fist. A benediction gesture by a gladiator after combat could be due to an acute nerve injury. At the sources that inspired the artist, the mercy gesture may have evolved into the benediction sign for an unknown reason. It is probable that a warrior cannot accurately form the mercy gesture following a peripheral nerve injury during combat. While his index finger was extended, the other fingers could not flex in the strict sense of making a fist due to traumatic median nerve injury.