One of the most interesting, yet controversial, parts of the history of the Roman Empire is surely linked to the Roman gladiators. Gladiators were loved by the Romans, being featured in arenas in front of millions of people. These armed and highly trained warriors fought until death, so gladiator fights were always filled with cold-blooded murder. Still, the arenas were considered the most popular form of entertainment in Ancient Rome, so they remain part of its culture and history.
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1. Not only slaves were gladiators
Despite what many people may think, arenas were not only populated by slaves who were obligated to fight. In fact, numerous free men, animated by the thrill of battle and the success in front of the crowds wanted to be gladiators. Of course, winning meant glory, but also money. Anyone willing to demonstrate his warrior capabilities was eager to enter the arena, including ex-soldiers, knights and even Roman senators.
2. Not all fights were until death
So, not all gladiator fights were so outrageous. In reality, many fights were operated under some strict rules and regulations and the system was conceived to make a fight as fair as possible. Usually, the arena was filed with men of similar size and experience, to make the fight equal. Usually, a fight stopped when one of the men was seriously wounded. In some fights, when one was wounded, his faith was left in the hands of the crowds and the emperor. So, not only death ended the battle. There were also some cases in which both fighters were allowed to leave the area if their show was appreciated by the crowd.
3. Not all gladiators were men
Women also were seen in arenas, fighting as gladiators. Usually, they were slaves who were obligated to take the arena, while only very rarely women decided by themselves to willingly become gladiators. Sometimes, such as men, women also fought animals in the arena, but this was not that a common practice. Women were seen in arenas until around 200 A.D., when the Emperor Septimus Severus banned their participation in the famous Roman Games.
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Gladiators represent an interesting part of Roman’s history. Despite the cruelty of this so-called show, Gladiators were popular and some really enjoyed the crowd’s applauses, but their portraits also graced walls and some of the most famous Gladiators also endorsed products, as athletes nowadays. What do you find interesting about the gladiators?