Picture a life as a criminal, captive of war, disobedient slaves in possession of a strong body and resourceful mind fighting for the enjoyment of the people around you. A life where you had to kill those who trained with you daily to stay alive while death was a given at some point in the arena. Gladiators played a tremendous role in the Roman Empire. This fighting was a way for the wealthy emperors to gloat the power they had as well as a way to bring together a city.
The origin of the gladiators is debatable as there is not enough proof to pin point exactly where it originated. Speculation says gladiatorial games could have been inherited by their predecessors in Italy, the Etruscans. Meanwhile on the other hand Titus Livius Patavinus also known as Livy, a Roman historian author of History of Rome wrote that the Campanians in celebration of victory over the Samnites first held gladiator games. Livy goes on to state
“While the Romans made use of armor to honor the gods (putting up a trophy tower of captured Samnite armor), the Campanians, out of contempt and hatred towards the Samnites, made the gladiators who performed at their banquets wear it, and they then called them `Samnites.'” (Livy, 9.40.17).
Often in gladiatorial games the honoring city will recreate battles and relive the victories of the past using gladiators as Livy points out in his piece. The Campanians made their gladiators wear the armour of the Sanmites. The first recorded Roman gladiator games were held in 246 BCE when Marcus and Decimus Brutus had three matched sets of gladiators fight to the death as apart of the funeral for their father, Junius Brutus. These gladiator fights occurred at the Roman Forum Boarium. The gladia...
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...thy and powerful. The upper level was reserved for the commoners. Under the floor of the Coliseum was a passageway of rooms, hallways, and cells where weapons and animals were stored and gladiators waited for their turn to battle. The Coliseum could also be flooded to hold naval battles and recreate some of Roman history. Special drains allowed water to be pumped in and released.
All in all, in ancient Rome, death had become a form of entertainment. Gladiators came from all different types of background to perform for the Roman citizens. They go through all different types of training to prepare them for the battles ahead of them. Life may not be as bad as one would think of a gladiator. The elite gladiators received stardom fame, money and freedom as well as the ability to perform to in front of 80,000 people in honor of your city and most importantly the emperor.
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