Gladiator Life in Ancient Rome

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In ancient Rome, gladiators were not only skillful but also substandard fighters who were known as expensive investments and fought to the death for the entertainment of their spectators. Gladiators, throughout the entire empire, fought their matches in arenas against their opponents either man or some type of animal in combat. For the Romans in society, the underpinning of the arena was an important feature of their civilization. Going through society, no current voice was against what the gladiators did. Not many thought what they were doing was wrong or disgusting. in actuality, the gladiators pompously discussed their profession excluding regret, resentment, and humiliation. The notion of gladiators fighting until one dies, and staged battles watched by a fanatical audience, illuminates the magnitude to which the Roman Empire was adept of falling.

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The nature of gladiatorial combat first came from the Etruscan customs in which they surrendered humans to please the dead. Some of the first gladiators were slaves who had no choice but to fight until death. Slowly the gladiatorial exhibitions were divided from normal or slave people fighting to the matches being staged by the affluent people as a way to show their power and impact throughout society. The mass of gladiators to be put in the arenas on show was the focus of the time, the more people, the more substantial the sponsor was said to be, and the more exhilarating the display.

Many of the gladiators at the time were taken from criminals, slaves, and prisoners of war and didn’t have an option if selected for the job. Since these people had their rights striped from them and some didn’t have citizenship they had no other choice but to fulfil to their new life as a braved gladiator in the large arena. However, a portion of gladiators were not slaves or prisoners but volunteers. These people had not lost their rights, but wanted to explore this profession on their own. They didn’t just say they wanted to be a gladiator and get the job, but pledged their allegiance to the leader of the gladiatorial troupe to endure branding, flogging or die by the sword In other words, the owner of the troupe had complete power over the gladiator’s life, even demoting his status to that of a slave. The main motivation was the down payment the volunteer got after pledging the oath as a gladiator.

Gladiators were exceptionally trained in specialized schools called ludi throughout the Roman Empire. These schools had the gladiators training extensively, eating a high-energy diet, and were opened to proficient medical attention. One of the most famous training grounds for gladiators was the school of Capua where Spartacus started the salve and gladiator rebellion. Usually, many of the gladiators didn’t battle more than two or three times during the whole year, but with the popularity and money of the arena they would soon get and then buy their freedom. On the other hand, a few of the gladiators that already committed the crimes were said to die within a year’s span or have their freedom after three years, only if they survived in the arena.

During the battles if a gladiator died the trainer received a payment for compensation by the sponsor of the brutal spectacle about a hundred times the original cost of a gladiator who lived through the battle.

Despite the death rules, long training, and hard life gladiators had a wide-ranging following. Many of them often profited from social status. For example, even if they were young Roman boys training at a gladiatorial school or hanging out there, social standing was admired. Gladiators were wanted by Roman matrons and sometimes known to have had affairs with the matrons because of their celebrity status. Overall even though the gladiators had the chance to die in the arena they were also admired and wanted which in some cases made up for it.

Fighting in the arenas there may have seemed like it was anything goes; however, there were guiding rules precise t the different fighting styles of combat. Gladiators were armed personally in different combinations, each one containing its individual fighting technique and bravura. An uncommon thing to find was gladiators being paired against someone else with the same fighting style and level as them. Such as a horseman entering the arena on chariot fighting against another horsemen. One of the most fascinating pairs included opposite advantages and disadvantages against each opponent. For example, a fight between the fish fighter and the thraex. The fish fighter had a bulky shield that covered almost his entire body giving him the top most protection. The traex had a small shield which only protected his torso; however, all of the opponents wore leg protection that went above the knee.

Subsequently, as fighting styles were recognized and sanctioned gladiators were trained lengthily in a completely different style which is different from where he originated from.

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Gladiator Life in Ancient Rome. (2019, Nov 27). Retrieved December 6, 2022 , from

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