(which came from the name of the Roman sword called Gladius)
professional and amateur combatants who fought against each
entertainment. Matches of man vs. man and man vs. animal were
fought in large
arenas throughout the empire. Every time a man stepped onto
fighting grounds, he was fighting for his
battles were originated from the Estruscan custom of ritual human sacrifices to
honor the dead. The first battle in Rome was in 264 B.C. with Marcus and Decimus
Junius Brutus who started a gladiatorial combat to honor their dead father. Each
had 3 couples (6 in all) of slaves that served as gladiators. The meaning was to
remember an important person after they perished. The fights often repeated at
usually annual or five year intervals.
usually consisted of condemned criminals, P.O.W. (prisoners of war), and slaves.
Some individuals became gladiators on their own free will. They would take the
role of a slave and risk their life for the fame and excitement. Very little
upper-class did step onto the fighting grounds (although it was illegal). They
did not live with the other gladiators and gave their own form of entertainment.
gladiator had to take the gladiator’s oath (sacramentum
gladiatorium), which was agreeing to be treated as a slave and suffer a
social disgrace (infamia). The oath was “I will endure to be burned, to be
bound, to be beaten, and to be killed by the sword.” This oath gave the
gladiator a measure of volition and honor.
unpopular gladiators would fight only two or three time a year. And the best of
them (if they aren’t already dead after all of the fights their popularity
brings them) become popular heroes. At some point the gladiators eventually get
freed. They could continue to fight for money, but most of them became
gladiatorial trainers or free-lance body guards for the wealthy.
Table of Contents
Timeline of the Colosseum