After the fall of the last Roman emperor of the West (Romulus Augustulus), Rome was controlled by Romanised barbarians. One such ruler was Theodoric the Goth whose Latin secretary Cassiodorus recounts in 523AD the shows he attended at the Colosseum. These shows included wrestling matches and bloody fights with beasts – the ancient Venationes – which could well result in the death of the scantily armed human fighter, the “venator” or “bestiarius”. By the end of that century the Colosseum was already covered in vegetation.
By the late middle ages we have fresh accounts of the Colosseum being used for other purposes, first as fortress of a local barony, then as a stage for religious ceremonies and processions until eventually theatrical shows of little religious content were held and finally abolished by the Pope. Similar fates attended the other amphitheatres.
It can therefore be said that the beginning and end of the Gladiatorial shows went hand in hand with the rise and fall of the Roman Empire.
Gladiators: |Rise and Fall of the Gladiators | The Gladiatorial shows |Ancient Roman Gladiators | Training | Gladiator fights | After the Gladiatorial fights | Types of Gladiator | More types and Classes of Gladiator | Commodus | Julius Caesar and the Gladiators | Christian martyrs and the Colosseum | Gladiators, Christians and Fish | Christians against the Circus and Colosseum | End of the Gladiators |