Essay by !n[f]lu3nzaHigh School, 10th grade October 2004

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Gladiatorial Games Paper

The first gladiatorial contest at Rome took place in 264 BC as part of aristocratic funerary ritual, a munus or funeral gift for the dead. Munus is a duty paid by descendants to a dead ancestor. This ceremony was done annually, or in five year intervals. Until the late first century, the gladiatorial games were private ceremonies. The second century AD scholar Festus had suggested that the Gladiatorial games be a substitution to the sacrifice or prisoners on the tombs of great warriors. In the story the lliad, Achilles sacrifices twelve Trojan boys over the tomb of Patroclus. The idea that blood could restore the life of these great warriors was what drove the Romans to do this. When the Gladiatorial games became a public event, it was like football or basketball games to today's everyday citizens. But gladiator games were an all day event, and took place in monstrous amphitheatres.

Usually, the Gladiators were prisoners bought by slave owners who trained the slaves to become gladiators and fight in the games. When these games took place, the morning event would be Capital Punishment, also known as ad bestias (which means to the beasts). Capital Punishment was when criminals were put in the ring with wild animals without any weapon or armor to protect them. At noon, Condemned criminals would face off, with only weapons and no armor of any kind, and would fight to the death. No matter what, even if the criminal won the previous round, he would still die. The criminals would keep facing off until they died. No one ever knows what happens to the ultimate winner. In the 4th century, 175 Days were set aside just for the gladiator games in Rome. There were enormous amounts of casualties of humans and animals...