The Life Of A Gladiator

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate September 2001

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Until I started doing the research on this report, I basically had no clue how a gladiator had it. Nowadays, no one really does. I believe you have to live through (or die through in most of the gladiator's cases) something to understand what it is like. I also learned some interesting facts about the gladiatorial games. Enjoy.

The first gladiatorial games took place in 264 BC by Junius Brutus Pera's sons after his death. Ludi was the name for matches that the state sponsored. The name for people that tried to battle animals, like lions, was called bestiarii. Those games were similar to a modern"“day rodeo. Gladiatorial games were sometimes used as a punishment for Christians who didn't follow the roman rule to make sacrifices to the gods. They would have a special intermission period in which Christians were crucified, burned, and fed to loins. Some people saw that as some kind of amusement.

I personally think that is disgusting.

Some gladiators are known as an ethnic name instead of their real names. In the movie gladiator, the main character was known as "The Spaniard," and I could not figure out why. After my research, I learned that the ethnic names didn't stand for their actual birthplaces but from their weapons. If you used Spanish weaponry you were know as the Spaniard. The same goes with the Samnite or the Thracian. Samnites had short swords and long shields and wore plumed helmets with visors. Small round shields and curved daggers was the weaponry of the average Thracian. A kind of gladiator called retiarii or "net men" carried a net to catch the men and a trident to stab the trapped men.

The life of a gladiator at training camps wasn't so bad. What surprised me was that they got three square meals a day! They could also fight for their freedom if they kept winning. Women even fought as gladiators in Rome. This continued until the emperor Septimius Severus. This shows that women had some rights but when you think that they are still fighting to the death that is not a very good right. Some emperors became fanatics of the games. Caligula even forced people that were free to fight and Commodus is said to have fought as a gladiator.