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Gladiators in Rome

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Gladiators in Rome

Gladiators were professional fighter who fought with specific weapons and

fought before the public in large built arenas throughout the Roman Empire from

105 BCE to 404 CE (official contests). The fights were usually to the death, but

gladiators had a short life expectancy. Majority of the fighters were slaves, former

slaves or condemned prisoners.

Roman gladiator games were an opportunity for Emperors and rich

aristocrats show off their wealth to the populace, to commemorate military

victories, celebrate birthdays or simply to distract the populace from the political

and economic problems of the day.

Spartacus was the most famous gladiator who led an uprising of gladiators

and slaves from Capua in 73 BCE. He displayed great military leadership in

defeating four Roman armies. When a friend died in battle, Spartacus arranged for

three hundred Roman prisoners to fight gladiator contests in honor of his fallen


Emperor Commodus was another famous gladiator. He was a professional as

he made sure to draw a fantastic salary for his appearances. He fought in the arena

and his most frequent participation was a slaughterer of wild animals on a

protected platform using a bow.

The gladiator games lasted for nearly a thousand years, reaching their peak

between the 1st century BC and the 2nd century AD. The games finally came to an

end during the 5th century after the adoption of Christianity. Even after the end,

gladiator spectacles were one of the most watched forms of popular entertainment

in the Roman world.

Work Cited

Gladiator-Ancient History Encyclopedia.


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