Gladiators Of Rome

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Gladiators Of Rome

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Below you will find a list of the most recognizable ones:. There were female gladiators, although they were a very small minority and according to writings from the times, they were apparently viewed as an oddity and a peculiar entertainment, more than as simply a regular type of gladiator.

Gladiators belonged to the infame class, infamous , and as such their lives were forfeit and belonged to their masters. Gladiatorial schools were incredibly strict, and the training they provided was harsh, with some archaeological evidence suggesting that gladiators could be killed as punishment for misbehavior.

In school, gladiators would likely train under a master who was an expert in their particular style of combat, and all the different groups were kept separate from each other, possibly so as to avoid conflicts between combatants who would meet in the arena.

Upon entering gladiator school those who had not been condemned to it as punishment for a crime , gladiators would sign a contract stipulating the type of combatant they would become, how many times a year they would fight, and signing themselves over into the property of their master.

Most gladiators lived and died anonymously, but a few became popular celebrities and their names have reached the present day. Spartacus is without a doubt the most famous gladiator of the Roman Empire, and he was in fact a real person.

He was a Thracian soldier or mercenary who ended up being sold a slave and then became a gladiator. He was one of the leaders of a revolt at the gladiator school of Capua, which ended in 70 of the trainees escaping.

After their escape and some subsequent skirmishes with the roman military, which the gladiators won, their ranks grew until they became an army of multiple tens of thousands.

Spartacus led this rebel slave army in what came to be known as the Third Servile War, until his forces were routed and he was supposedly killed in 71 BC.

It proved immensely popular. Where traditional ludi had been dedicated to a deity, such as Jupiter , the munera could be dedicated to an aristocratic sponsor's divine or heroic ancestor.

Gladiator games offered their sponsors extravagantly expensive but effective opportunities for self-promotion, and gave their clients and potential voters exciting entertainment at little or no cost to themselves.

A politically ambitious privatus private citizen might postpone his deceased father's munus to the election season, when a generous show might drum up votes; those in power and those seeking it needed the support of the plebeians and their tribunes , whose votes might be won with the mere promise of an exceptionally good show.

In the closing years of the politically and socially unstable Late Republic, any aristocratic owner of gladiators had political muscle at his disposal.

Despite an already enormous personal debt, he used gladiator pairs in silvered armour. Gladiatorial games, usually linked with beast shows, spread throughout the Republic and beyond.

Legislation of AD by Marcus Aurelius did little to stop it, and was completely ignored by his son, Commodus. The decline of the munus was a far from straightforward process.

Still, emperors continued to subsidize the games as a matter of undiminished public interest. Ten years later, he forbade criminals being forced to fight to the death as gladiators:.

Bloody spectacles do not please us in civil ease and domestic quiet. For that reason we forbid those people to be gladiators who by reason of some criminal act were accustomed to deserve this condition and sentence.

You shall rather sentence them to serve in the mines so that they may acknowledge the penalties of their crimes with blood [49].

This has been interpreted as a ban on gladiatorial combat. Yet, in the last year of his life, Constantine wrote a letter to the citizens of Hispellum, granting its people the right to celebrate his rule with gladiatorial games.

In , Valentinian I r. In , Theodosius I r. Honorius r. According to Theodoret , the ban was in consequence of Saint Telemachus ' martyrdom by spectators at a munus.

In the Byzantine Empire, theatrical shows and chariot races continued to attract the crowds, and drew a generous Imperial subsidy. It is not known how many gladiatoria munera were given throughout the Roman period.

Many, if not most, involved venationes , and in the later Empire some may have been only that. In BC, at least one munus was held during April's Megalesia.

In the early Imperial era, munera in Pompeii and neighbouring towns were dispersed from March through November. They included a provincial magnate's five-day munus of thirty pairs, plus beast-hunts.

Of days reserved for spectacles of various kinds, were for theatrical shows, 64 for chariot races and just 10 in December for gladiator games and venationes.

A century before this, the emperor Alexander Severus r. As Wiedemann points out, December was also the month for the Saturnalia , Saturn's festival, in which death was linked to renewal, and the lowest were honoured as the highest.

The earliest munera took place at or near the tomb of the deceased and these were organised by their munerator who made the offering. Later games were held by an editor , either identical with the munerator or an official employed by him.

As time passed, these titles and meanings may have merged. From the Principate onwards, private citizens could hold munera and own gladiators only under Imperial permission, and the role of editor was increasingly tied to state officialdom.

Bigger games were put on by senior magistrates, who could better afford them. The largest and most lavish of all were paid for by the emperor himself.

The earliest types of gladiator were named after Rome's enemies of that time: the Samnite , Thracian and Gaul. The Samnite, heavily armed, elegantly helmed and probably the most popular type, [ citation needed ] was renamed secutor and the Gaul renamed murmillo , once these former enemies had been conquered then absorbed into Rome's Empire.

In the mid-republican munus , each type seems to have fought against a similar or identical type. In the later Republic and early Empire, various "fantasy" types were introduced, and were set against dissimilar but complementary types.

For example, the bareheaded, nimble retiarius "net-man" , armoured only at the left arm and shoulder, pitted his net, trident and dagger against the more heavily armoured, helmeted Secutor.

Passing literary references to others has allowed their tentative reconstruction. Other novelties introduced around this time included gladiators who fought from chariots or carts , or from horseback.

The trade in gladiators was empire-wide, and subjected to official supervision. Rome's military success produced a supply of soldier-prisoners who were redistributed for use in State mines or amphitheatres and for sale on the open market.

In Rome's military ethos, enemy soldiers who had surrendered or allowed their own capture and enslavement had been granted an unmerited gift of life.

Their training as gladiators would give them opportunity to redeem their honour in the munus. For the poor, and for non-citizens, enrollment in a gladiator school offered a trade, regular food, housing of sorts and a fighting chance of fame and fortune.

Mark Antony chose a troupe of gladiators to be his personal bodyguard. Tiberius offered several retired gladiators , sesterces each to return to the arena.

From the 60s AD female gladiators appear as rare and "exotic markers of exceptionally lavish spectacle". Cassius Dio takes pains to point out that when the much admired emperor Titus used female gladiators, they were of acceptably low class.

Some regarded female gladiators of any type or class as a symptom of corrupted Roman appetites, morals and womanhood. Before he became emperor, Septimius Severus may have attended the Antiochene Olympic Games, which had been revived by the emperor Commodus and included traditional Greek female athletics.

His attempt to give Rome a similarly dignified display of female athletics was met by the crowd with ribald chants and cat-calls.

Caligula , Titus , Hadrian , Lucius Verus , Caracalla , Geta and Didius Julianus were all said to have performed in the arena, either in public or private, but risks to themselves were minimal.

Commodus was a fanatical participant at the ludi , and compelled Rome's elite to attend his performances as gladiator, bestiarius or venator.

Most of his performances as a gladiator were bloodless affairs, fought with wooden swords; he invariably won.

He was said to have restyled Nero's colossal statue in his own image as " Hercules Reborn", dedicated to himself as "Champion of secutores ; only left-handed fighter to conquer twelve times one thousand men.

On another occasion, he decapitated a running ostrich with a specially designed dart, carried the bloodied head and his sword over to the Senatorial seats and gesticulated as though they were next.

Gladiator games were advertised well beforehand, on billboards that gave the reason for the game, its editor, venue, date and the number of paired gladiators ordinarii to be used.

Other highlighted features could include details of venationes , executions, music and any luxuries to be provided for the spectators, such as an awning against the sun, water sprinklers, food, drink, sweets and occasionally "door prizes".

For enthusiasts and gamblers, a more detailed program libellus was distributed on the day of the munus , showing the names, types and match records of gladiator pairs, and their order of appearance.

The night before the munus , the gladiators were given a banquet and opportunity to order their personal and private affairs; Futrell notes its similarity to a ritualistic or sacramental "last meal".

The event may also have been used to drum up more publicity for the imminent game. Official munera of the early Imperial era seem to have followed a standard form munus legitimum.

They were followed by a small band of trumpeters tubicines playing a fanfare. Images of the gods were carried in to "witness" the proceedings, followed by a scribe to record the outcome, and a man carrying the palm branch used to honour victors.

The magistrate editor entered among a retinue who carried the arms and armour to be used; the gladiators presumably came in last.

The entertainments often began with venationes beast hunts and bestiarii beast fighters. A crude Pompeian graffito suggests a burlesque of musicians, dressed as animals named Ursus tibicen flute-playing bear and Pullus cornicen horn-blowing chicken , perhaps as accompaniment to clowning by paegniarii during a "mock" contest of the ludi meridiani.

Increasingly the munus was the editor' s gift to spectators who had come to expect the best as their due. Lightly armed and armoured fighters, such as the retiarius , would tire less rapidly than their heavily armed opponents; most bouts would have lasted 10 to 15 minutes, or 20 minutes at most.

Spectators preferred to watch highly skilled, well matched ordinarii with complementary fighting styles; these were the most costly to train and to hire.

A general melee of several, lower-skilled gladiators was far less costly, but also less popular. Even among the ordinarii , match winners might have to fight a new, well-rested opponent, either a tertiarius "third choice gladiator" by prearrangement; or a "substitute" gladiator suppositicius who fought at the whim of the editor as an unadvertised, unexpected "extra".

Most were probably of poor quality, [] but the emperor Caracalla chose to test a notably skilled and successful fighter named Bato against first one supposicitius , whom he beat, and then another, who killed him.

Combats between experienced, well trained gladiators demonstrated a considerable degree of stagecraft. Among the cognoscenti, bravado and skill in combat were esteemed over mere hacking and bloodshed; some gladiators made their careers and reputation from bloodless victories.

Suetonius describes an exceptional munus by Nero, in which no-one was killed, "not even noxii enemies of the state. Trained gladiators were expected to observe professional rules of combat.

Most matches employed a senior referee summa rudis and an assistant, shown in mosaics with long staffs rudes to caution or separate opponents at some crucial point in the match.

Referees were usually retired gladiators whose decisions, judgement and discretion were, for the most part, respected; [] they could stop bouts entirely, or pause them to allow the combatants rest, refreshment and a rub-down.

Ludi and munera were accompanied by music, played as interludes, or building to a "frenzied crescendo" during combats, perhaps to heighten the suspense during a gladiator's appeal; blows may have been accompanied by trumpet-blasts.

Their instruments are a long straight trumpet tubicen , a large curved horn Cornu and a water organ hydraulis. A match was won by the gladiator who overcame his opponent, or killed him outright.

Victors received the palm branch and an award from the editor. An outstanding fighter might receive a laurel crown and money from an appreciative crowd but for anyone originally condemned ad ludum the greatest reward was manumission emancipation , symbolised by the gift of a wooden training sword or staff rudis from the editor.

Martial describes a match between Priscus and Verus , who fought so evenly and bravely for so long that when both acknowledged defeat at the same instant, Titus awarded victory and a rudis to each.

His gravestone in Sicily includes his record: "Flamma, secutor , lived 30 years, fought 34 times, won 21 times, fought to a draw 9 times, defeated 4 times, a Syrian by nationality.

Delicatus made this for his deserving comrade-in-arms. A gladiator could acknowledge defeat by raising a finger ad digitum , in appeal to the referee to stop the combat and refer to the editor , whose decision would usually rest on the crowd's response.

During the Imperial era, matches advertised as sine missione without remission from the sentence of death suggest that missio the sparing of a defeated gladiator's life had become common practice.

The contract between editor and his lanista could include compensation for unexpected deaths; [] this could be "some fifty times higher than the lease price" of the gladiator.

Under Augustus' rule, the demand for gladiators began to exceed supply, and matches sine missione were officially banned; an economical, pragmatic development that happened to match popular notions of "natural justice".

When Caligula and Claudius refused to spare defeated but popular fighters, their own popularity suffered. In general, gladiators who fought well were likely to survive.

Whether victorious or defeated, a gladiator was bound by oath to accept or implement his editor's decision, "the victor being nothing but the instrument of his [editor's] will.

Once a band of five retiarii in tunics, matched against the same number of secutores , yielded without a struggle; but when their death was ordered, one of them caught up his trident and slew all the victors.

Caligula bewailed this in a public proclamation as a most cruel murder. A gladiator who was refused missio was despatched by his opponent. To die well, a gladiator should never ask for mercy, nor cry out.

For death, when it stands near us, gives even to inexperienced men the courage not to seek to avoid the inevitable.

So the gladiator, no matter how faint-hearted he has been throughout the fight, offers his throat to his opponent and directs the wavering blade to the vital spot.

Epistles , Some mosaics show defeated gladiators kneeling in preparation for the moment of death. Seneca's "vital spot" seems to have meant the neck.

The body of a gladiator who had died well was placed on a couch of Libitina and removed with dignity to the arena morgue, where the corpse was stripped of armour, and probably had its throat cut to prove that dead was dead.

The Christian author Tertullian , commenting on ludi meridiani in Roman Carthage during the peak era of the games, describes a more humiliating method of removal.

One arena official, dressed as the "brother of Jove", Dis Pater god of the underworld strikes the corpse with a mallet.

Another, dressed as Mercury , tests for life-signs with a heated "wand"; once confirmed as dead, the body is dragged from the arena. Whether these victims were gladiators or noxii is unknown.

Modern pathological examination confirms the probably fatal use of a mallet on some, but not all the gladiator skulls found in a gladiators' cemetery.

Whether the corpse of such a gladiator could be redeemed from further ignominy by friends or familia is not known. The bodies of noxii , and possibly some damnati , were thrown into rivers or dumped unburied; [] Denial of funeral rites and memorial condemned the shade manes of the deceased to restless wandering upon the earth as a dreadful larva or lemur.

The taint of infamia was perpetual. Gladiators could subscribe to a union collegia , which ensured their proper burial, and sometimes a pension or compensation for wives and children.

Otherwise, the gladiator's familia , which included his lanista , comrades and blood-kin, might fund his funeral and memorial costs, and use the memorial to assert their moral reputation as responsible, respectful colleagues or family members.

Some include the gladiator's type, in words or direct representation: for example, the memorial of a retiarius at Verona included an engraved trident and sword.

According to Cassius Dio, the emperor Caracalla gave the gladiator Bato a magnificent memorial and State funeral; [] more typical are the simple gladiator tombs of the Eastern Roman Empire, whose brief inscriptions include the following:.

Titus Flavius Satyrus set up this monument in his memory from his own money. Paitraeites with his cell-mates set this up in memory". Very little evidence survives of the religious beliefs of gladiators as a class, or their expectations of an afterlife.

Modern scholarship offers little support for the once-prevalent notion that gladiators, venatores and bestiarii were personally or professionally dedicated to the cult of the Graeco-Roman goddess Nemesis.

Rather, she seems to have represented a kind of "Imperial Fortuna " who dispensed Imperial retribution on the one hand, and Imperially subsidised gifts on the other — including the munera.

One gladiator's tomb dedication clearly states that her decisions are not to be trusted. Having no personal responsibility for his own defeat and death, the losing gladiator remains the better man, worth avenging.

Doom killed me, not the liar Pinnas. No longer let him boast. I had a fellow gladiator, Polyneikes, who killed Pinnas and avenged me. Claudius Thallus set up this memorial from what I left behind as a legacy.

A gladiator might expect to fight in two or three munera annually, and an unknown number would have died in their first match.

Few gladiators survived more than 10 contests, though one survived an extraordinary bouts; [] and another died at 90 years of age, presumably long after retirement.

The earliest named gladiator school singular: ludus ; plural: ludi is that of Aurelius Scaurus at Capua. He was lanista of the gladiators employed by the state circa BC to instruct the legions and simultaneously entertain the public.

Socially, they were infames , on a footing with pimps and butchers and despised as price gougers. The Spartacus revolt had originated in a gladiator school privately owned by Lentulus Batiatus , and had been suppressed only after a protracted series of costly, sometimes disastrous campaigns by regular Roman troops.

In the late Republican era, a fear of similar uprisings, the usefulness of gladiator schools in creating private armies, and the exploitation of munera for political gain led to increased restrictions on gladiator school ownership, siting and organisation.

By Domitian 's time, many had been more or less absorbed by the State, including those at Pergamum , Alexandria , Praeneste and Capua.

Roman myrmillones gladiator helmet with relief depicting scenes from the Trojan War from Herculaneum. In the Imperial era, volunteers required a magistrate's permission to join a school as auctorati.

Their contract auctoramentum stipulated how often they were to perform, their fighting style and earnings. A condemned bankrupt or debtor accepted as novice novicius could negotiate with his lanista or editor for the partial or complete payment of his debt.

Faced with runaway re-enlistment fees for skilled auctorati , Marcus Aurelius set their upper limit at 12, sesterces.

All prospective gladiators, whether volunteer or condemned, were bound to service by a sacred oath sacramentum. Fighting styles were probably learned through constant rehearsal as choreographed "numbers".

An elegant, economical style was preferred. Training included preparation for a stoical, unflinching death. Successful training required intense commitment.

Soldiers were routinely marked on the hand. Gladiators were typically accommodated in cells, arranged in barrack formation around a central practice arena.

Juvenal describes the segregation of gladiators according to type and status, suggestive of rigid hierarchies within the schools: "even the lowest scum of the arena observe this rule; even in prison they're separate".

Retiarii were kept away from damnati , and "fag targeteers" from "armoured heavies". As most ordinarii at games were from the same school, this kept potential opponents separate and safe from each other until the lawful munus.

Its replacement could have housed about and included a very small cell, probably for lesser punishments and so low that standing was impossible.

Despite the harsh discipline, gladiators represented a substantial investment for their lanista and were otherwise well fed and cared for.

Their daily, high-energy, vegetarian diet consisted of barley , boiled beans , oatmeal , ash and dried fruit.

Part of Galen 's medical training was at a gladiator school in Pergamum where he saw and would later criticise the training, diet, and long-term health prospects of the gladiators.

Modern customs and institutions offer few useful parallels to the legal and social context of the gladiatoria munera. Offenders seen as particularly obnoxious to the state noxii received the most humiliating punishments.

These damnati at least might put on a good show and retrieve some respect, and very rarely, survive to fight another day.

Some may even have become "proper" gladiators. Among the most admired and skilled auctorati were those who, having been granted manumission, volunteered to fight in the arena.

Their legal status — slave or free — is uncertain. Under Roman law, a freed gladiator could not "offer such services [as those of a gladiator] after manumission, because they cannot be performed without endangering [his] life.

Payment for such appearances compounded their infamia. They could not vote, plead in court nor leave a will; and unless they were manumitted, their lives and property belonged to their masters.

Some "unfree" gladiators bequeathed money and personal property to wives and children, possibly via a sympathetic owner or familia ; some had their own slaves and gave them their freedom.

Caesar's munus of 46 BC included at least one equestrian, son of a Praetor, and two volunteers of possible senatorial rank.

Thereafter, Caligula flouted them and Claudius strengthened them. Even after the adoption of Christianity as Rome's official religion, legislation forbade the involvement of Rome's upper social classes in the games, though not the games themselves.

His motives are unknown, but his voluntary and "shameless" arena appearance combined the "womanly attire" of a lowly retiarius tunicatus , adorned with golden ribbons, with the apex headdress that marked him out as a priest of Mars.

In Juvenal's account, he seems to have relished the scandalous self-display, applause and the disgrace he inflicted on his more sturdy opponent by repeatedly skipping away from the confrontation.

As munera grew larger and more popular, open spaces such as the Forum Romanum were adapted as the Forum Boarium had been as venues in Rome and elsewhere, with temporary, elevated seating for the patron and high status spectators; they were popular but not truly public events:.

A show of gladiators was to be exhibited before the people in the market-place, and most of the magistrates erected scaffolds round about, with an intention of letting them for advantage.

Caius commanded them to take down their scaffolds, that the poor people might see the sport without paying anything. But nobody obeying these orders of his, he gathered together a body of labourers, who worked for him, and overthrew all the scaffolds the very night before the contest was to take place.

It was known according to Titus Livius Livy that combats of gladiators in Roman Republic held for the first time in BC, but that does not mean they were not organized before this date.

During the time of the first combat games, gladiators were named bustuarius or grave because those fighters were prisoners whose blood was sacrificed for decedent.

A more massive events of the gladiator games begins at the time of the territorial spreading of the Roman Republic and during the Punic Wars between Rome and Carthage.

Consul Publius Licinius in BC organized three days of games involving around gladiators. In the later stage of the Roman Republic, the number of gladiators who participated in the tournaments increased even more.

The gladiators games shows also another important function in the roman society: in addition to the display of Roman sense of superiority, it served as a social outlet and despite strict class — distributed seating, it was united together the Roman citizens in the moment of the celebration and cheer, giving them a sense of community.

Plebs and Aristocracy united in a fan base. Even the poorest beggar could feel lord of life and death in these few little moments as he waved his handkerchief for his losing favorite.

At the same time, the amphitheater gave the people the opportunity to express their displeasure directly to the emperor: The loud cheers when the Emperor entered into arena and took his place to seat.

The mass of the gladiator fans in this moment neglects or approves his presence depending on his previews governmental decisions. In ancient Roman society there was around twenty different types of gladiators.

But there was also five classic gladiator types, which differed by body armor and offensive weapons. The Samnite gladiator belonged the people of Samnium or Samnites who were inhabited south-central Apennine Peninsula.

At the beginning of the territorial spreading, Roman Republic fought against Etruscans, Celts and Samnites.

After three long wars against Samnites —; — and — BC Romans managed to achieved victory capturing many prisoners and taking them to Rome.

On that way, many Samnites warriors who were armed with gladius or short sword, rectangular schield or scutum, helmet and greave or orca became Roman slaves who had to fight in combat games.

Thraex of Thracian gladiator wore a wide-brimmed helmet, a small round, sometimes rectangular shield and fought with the sica , a curved sword, the traditional weapon of the Danube warriors.

Thracian gladiator was equipped with light armor and this was made easier for him to move faster. Gallus or Gaul Gladiators like the Samnite and Thraex were also war prisoners at the early stage of the Roman Republic.

His Gallic equipment consisted of the flat shield with a hump and the longsword. His curved helmet looked scary. If these fighters were truly like traditional Celts or Gauls , probably those gladiators preferred to plunge as a hero in battle.

In the Roman Imperial Age, the name changed to murmillo , because the fish mormyrus was used as inspiration to create a helmet shape and decoration.

The added helmet had no visor instead it is used metal mesh and the shield was modified to a long, octagonal shape. Considering that this type of gladiator held in his hand a sword long cm within weight around 1.

Retiarius which on Latin meaning fisherman or net-fighter was also one of the most famous type gladiator. He was not really a gladiator in the true sense, since he did not used standard sword gladius.

The retiarius only wore armor on his left side of the body to at least try to block the blows of his opponents. He only used weapons just like a true fisherman: fish net, trident and dagger.

His advantages consisted by maneuverability and the greater distance of the trident. If he succeeded in throwing his net so skillfully that his opponent caught himself and hindered himself, retiarius had good chances to finish the fight victoriously.

If he missed the chance to hit his opponent, he had to run away and look for another opportunity to pick up net safely.

The secutor wore the rectangular scutum and the gladius of the legionnaires, shield for arm made of thin plates.

His helmet was designed in order to fight easily against retairius. Helmet was egg-shaped and rimless. Obviously, this helmet had been specially designed so that it would not easily catch in the net of its main opponent, the retiarius, while at the same time allowing a good view.

In addition to these standard classes, more gladiator types were introduced especially in the Roman imperial era.

During the time armor and weapons of the existing gladiators changed so that new fighting methods grew out of these encounters. Dose changes developed new types like the dimachaerus gladiators who fought with two swords , eques gladiator horsemen and essedarius gladiator who fought from a chariot.

A grotesque development of secutor helmet used by andabata gladiator. The visor of the helmet were completely closed, so the andabata wore a helmet with no eyeholes and fought blind like the victim in the Etruscan Phersu games.

The usual gladiator combat held in pairs or one against the another. Their name speaks for itself: they were called ordinarii.

Another concept was group against group. Such fighters were called catervarii. Very rarely, women also went into the arena.

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Spartacus is without a doubt the most famous gladiator of the Roman Empire, and he was in fact a real person. He was a Thracian soldier or mercenary who ended up being sold a slave and then became a gladiator.

He was one of the leaders of a revolt at the gladiator school of Capua, which ended in 70 of the trainees escaping. After their escape and some subsequent skirmishes with the roman military, which the gladiators won, their ranks grew until they became an army of multiple tens of thousands.

Spartacus led this rebel slave army in what came to be known as the Third Servile War, until his forces were routed and he was supposedly killed in 71 BC.

Most often, gladiators engaged in one on one combat and would be paired against different types that were considered complementary. Murmillos often fought against Thracians, as well as Hoplomachus, and Retiarius.

Retiarius net and trident wielders usually faced gladiators armed with more conventional weapons. Fights were highly organized and monitored by referees.

Not all ended in death. Often a fight would end without either combatant dying — the reason for this was quite simple: training and maintaining a stable of gladiators was expensive, so their owners wanted them to survive as long as possible.

In the early years of the Colosseum more fights were to the death, but as time went on the contests became less lethal because replacing dead gladiators was costly.

Roman combatant for entertainment. For other uses, see Gladiator disambiguation. Main article: List of Roman gladiator types.

Main article: Gladiatrix. See also: Pollice verso. Shin guard depicting Venus Euploia on a ship shaped like a dolphin. Heart-shaped spear head found in the gladiator barracks in Pompeii.

Main article: List of Roman amphitheatres. Gladiator show fight in Trier in Nimes , Carnuntum , Austria, Play media. This section does not cite any sources.

Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. December Learn how and when to remove this template message.

History portal. Nicolaus cites Posidonius 's support for a Celtic origin and Hermippus' for a Mantinean therefore Greek origin.

Futrell is citing Livy, 9. Paestum was colonized by Rome in BC. Livy's account summary 16 places beast-hunts and gladiatorial munera within this single munus.

See Welch , p. Welch is citing Ausanius: Seneca simply says they were "war captives". Evidence of "Samnite" as an insult in earlier writings fades as Samnium is absorbed into the Republic.

Quoted in Futrell , pp. Livy's published works are often embellished with illustrative rhetorical detail. See Gladiator types.

Welch is citing Livy, The Aemilii Lepidii were one of the most important families in Rome at the time, and probably owned a gladiator school ludus.

Wiedemann is citing Valerius Maximus, 2. Gladiator gangs were used by Caesar and others to overawe and "persuade".

Gladiators could be enrolled to serve noble households; some household slaves may have been raised and trained for this. For more details see Plutarch's Julius Caesar , 5.

See also Pliny's Historia Naturalis , Antiochus IV Epiphanes of Greece was keen to upstage his Roman allies, but gladiators were becoming increasingly expensive, and to save costs, all his were local volunteers.

Kyle is citing Cicero's Lex Tullia Ambitu. Wiedemann is citing Cassius Dio, Augustus's games each involved an average gladiator pairs.

Brown is citing Dio Cassius, De Spectaculis , Compared to "pagan" noxii , Christian deaths in the arena would have been few.

Relatio , 8. See Theoderet's Historia Ecclesiastica , 5. The Jewish War , 6. C, at Lewis and Short Perseus Project.

See also Cassius Dio's accusation of entrapment by informers to provide "arena slaves" under Claudius; Futrell , p. Futrell is citing Cassius Dio.

Lives , "Tiberius", 7. Lives , "Nero", Fox is citing Pliny. Commodus , 73 Epitome. Commodus was assassinated and posthumously declared a public enemy but was later deified.

Based on fragmentary Pompeian remains and citing of Pliny's Historia Naturalis , Retrieved 21 April Moral Essays , B fully cited in Futrell , pp.

Gladiatorial banquet on mosaic, El Djem. See pompa circensis for the similar procession before games were held in the circus.

Futrell is citing Seneca's On Providence , 3. Author's drawing. In the Eastern provinces of the later Empire the state archiereis combined the roles of editor , Imperial cult priest and lanista , giving gladiatoria munera in which the use of sharp weapons seems an exceptional honour.

CS1 maint: location link Fagan speculates that Nero was perversely defying the crowd's expectations, or perhaps trying to please a different kind of crowd.

Liber de Spectaculis , Kyle is citing Robert. This is evidenced on a roughly inscribed libellus.

Representations 27 : 27, 28, note Lives , "Caligula", Futrell is citing Cicero's Tuscullan Disputations , 2.

Marks on the bones of several gladiators suggest a sword thrust into the base of the throat and down towards the heart. Tertullian describes these events as examples of hollow impiety, in which Rome's false deities are acceptably impersonated by low and murderous persons for the purposes of human sacrifice and evil entertainment.

See Kyle , pp. Lives , "Tiberius", Suetonius has the populace wish the same fate on Tiberius 's body, a form of damnatio : to be thrown in the Tiber, or left unburied, or "dragged with the hook".

Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies. The single name form on a gladiator memorial usually indicates a slave, two a freedman or discharged auctoratus and, very rare among gladiators, three " tria nomina " a freedman or a full Roman citizen.

See also vroma. Futrell is citing Robert, 12, 24, and Futrell is citing Robert, Futrell is citing George Ville. Edict , Book 6; Futrell , pp.

Futrell is citing Digest , 3. Letters , This had probably began under Augustus. Futrell is citing Petronius's Satyricon , See also Tiberius's inducement to re-enlist.

Satyricon , "He vows to endure to be burned, to be bound, to be beaten, and to be killed by the sword. Futrell is citing Quintilian's Oratorical Institute , 5.

Futrell is citing Epictetus's Discourse , 3. Facial stigmata represented extreme social degradation. Futrell is citing Juvenal's Satire , 6 [Oxford Fragment 7.

The burning alive of a soldier who refused to become an auctoratus at a Spanish school in 43 BC is exceptional only because he was a citizen, technically exempt from such compulsion and penalty.

AD — Implications for Differences in Diet". Bibcode : PLoSO Times Online. Archived from the original on 29 April Retrieved 24 March Manumission was seldom absolute.

Terms of release were negotiated between master and slave; Digests Metamorphoses , 4. A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities. Futrell is citing Tertullian's De Spectaculis , Futrell is citing Plutarch's Moral Essays , B.

Barton is citing Cassius Dio, Bronze tablet found at Larino, Italy, and published in Futrell is citing Cassius Dio, Barton is citing Juvenal, 8.

The American Journal of Philology. Caius Gracchus , The provision of permanent seating was thought a particularly objectionable luxury.

Futrell is citing Martial's Epigrams , 5. Welch is citing CIL , X. Potter and Mattingly are citing Pliny the Elder, The amphitheatre was commissioned by T.

Statilius Taurus. According to Pliny, its three storeys were marble-clad, housed 3, bronze statues and seated 80, spectators. It was probably wooden-framed in part.

Even emperors who disliked munera were thus obliged to attend them. Lives , "Augustus", See also Tacitus's Annals , It was notably fulfilled and celebrated in the battlefield devotio of two consular Decii ; firstly by the father and later by his son.

Mattern is citing Tacitus's Annals , 1. Mattern is citing Cassius Dio, 72, Futrell is citing Cicero's Letters to Friends , 2.

Barton is citing Seneca's Suasoriae , 6. For bustuarius , with reference to Clodius's alleged impious disturbance at the funeral of Marius , see Cicero's In Pisonem Against Piso.

See Bagnani , p. Cicero's unflattering references to Marcus Antonius as gladiator are in his 2nd Philippic. Tacitus, in Annals Roman commentators associated munera with Capua's proverbial luxury and excess.

Futrell is citing Lucian's Toxaris , 58— This should be considered scandalous and noteworthy, rather than common. Satires , 6. Commentary on the "Aeneid" of Vergil , De Spectaculis , 22; Kyle , p.

Bustuarius is found in Tertullian's De Spectaculis , Hecyra , Prologue II. Natural History , Retrieved 9 November Auguet, Roland Cruelty and Civilization: The Roman Games.

New York, New York: Routledge. Bagnani, Gilbert January Classical Philology. Barton, Carlin A.

Borkowski, J. Andrew; du Plessis, Paul J. Textbook on Roman Law. Brunet, Stephen In Paul Christesen; Donald G. Kyle eds. Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley Blackwell.

Carter, Michael Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies. Archived from the original PDF on 26 February Coleman, K.

The Journal of Roman Studies. Curry, Andrew November—December Retrieved 21 March Edwards, Catherine Death in Ancient Rome. Everitt, Anthony New York: Random House.

Fagan, Garrett G. Fox, Robin Lane New York: Basic Books. Futrell, Alison A Sourcebook on the Roman Games. Oxford, United Kingdom: Blackwell Publishing.

Gibbon, Edward; Womersley, David New York, New York: Penguin. Grant, Michael London, United Kingdom: Penguin Books.

Grossschmidt, K. Forensic Science International. Hopkins, Keith; Beard, Mary The Colosseum. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.

The combat between gladiators had its origins in Etruscan and Samnite funeral sacrifices, ritual killings when an elite personage died.

The first recorded gladiatorial games were given by the sons of Iunius Brutus in BCE, events that were dedicated to their father's ghost.

In BCE, 74 men fought for three days to honor the dead father of Titus Flaminus; and up to pairs fought in the games offered to the shades of Pompey and Caesar.

The Roman emperor Trajan caused 10, men to fight for four months to celebrate his conquest of Dacia. During the earliest battles when the events were rare and the chances of death were about 1 in 10, the fighters were almost entirely prisoners of war.

As the numbers and frequency of the games increased, the risks of dying also increased, and Romans and volunteers began enlisting.

By the end of the Republic, about half of the gladiators were volunteers. Gladiators were trained to fight in special schools called ludi singular ludus.

They practiced their art at the Colosseum , or in circuses, chariot racing stadiums where the ground surface was covered with blood-absorbing harena "sand" hence, the name "arena".

They generally fought one another, and were rarely, if ever, matched with wild animals, despite what you may have seen in the movies.

Gladiators were trained at the ludi to fit into specific gladiator categories , which were organized based on how they fought on horse back, in pairs , what their armor was like leather, bronze, decorated, plain , and what weapons they used.

There were horseback gladiators, gladiators in chariots, gladiators who fought in pairs, and gladiators named for their origin, like the Thracian gladiators.

Popular skilled gladiators were allowed to have families, and could become very wealthy. From under the debris of the volcanic eruption of 79 CE in Pompeii, a presumed gladiator's cell that is, his room in a ludi was found that included jewels that may have belonged to his wife or mistress.

Archaeological investigations in a Roman gladiators cemetery in Ephesus identified 67 men and one woman—the woman was likely a gladiator's wife.

The average age at death of the Ephesus gladiator was 25, slightly more than half the lifespan of the typical Roman.

But they were in excellent health and received expert medical care as evidenced by perfectly healed bone fractures. Their diets were high in carbohydrates, with an emphasis on beans and barley.

They drank what must have been vile brews of charred wood or bone ash to increase their calcium levels—analysis of the bones at Ephesus found very high levels of calcium.

The gladiator life was clearly risky. Many of the men in the Ephesus cemetery died after having survived multiple blows to the head: ten skulls had been bashed by blunt objects, and three had been punctured by tridents.

Cut marks on rib bones show that several were stabbed in the heart, the ideal Roman coup de grace.

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