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ROME (AP) — Russell Crowe, who won a best actor Academy Award for portraying a gladiator in the 2000 film of the same name, was feted Friday by the city of Rome, home to the Colosseum where real gladiators clashed before thousands of spectators through the time of the Roman Empire.

Rome Mayor Roberto Gualtieri welcomed the actor to City Hall which sits atop the ancient Capitoline Hill, stepping out on a balcony with Crowe to show off a sweeping view of the ancient Roman Forum.

Crowe was given a plaque and the title of “ambassador or Rome in the world.”

The actor, speaking Italian, said, “I am always at the service of Rome.”

In the film, Crowe portrayed Maximus, who was a general forced into slavery before turning into a gladiator

Crowe is in Rome these days for the city’s film festival, where a movie he directed and stars in, “Poker Face,” is having its world premiere.

The mayor said the city was giving the plaque “as the symbol of friendship and affection of Rome for Russell Crowe.”