Slaves and criminals were often employed in gladiatorial bouts and in some cases this was used as a form of capital punishment. To these we should add a good number of voluntary “professionals” largely made up of prisoners of war.
Slaves and criminals were often employed in gladiatorial bouts and in some cases this was used as a form of capital punishment. To these we should add a good number of voluntary “professionals” largely made up of prisoners of war. There were also free citizens who were trying to pay off debts or indeed even recklessupper-class men in search of a buzz and popular fame, particularly with women. These free men were called “Auctorati” and they had no need to be under the supervision of the trainer-jailer “Lanista“.
The satirist Juvenal goes as far as suggesting that hitherto respectable women literally turned into the crazed fans of the ugliest gladiator and his “sword” in favour of their husbands and children. You could even buy clay figurines such as the one drawn left.
The more normal circumstance was that of the prisoner of war who had been given the choice between slavery or a fixed term contract as a Gladiator.Spartacus. He led the Gladiators and the slaves who joined them in a massive revolt, defeating various legions only to be betrayed by pirates in southern Italy. Stranded in southern Italy he and his forces were eventually beaten and crucified.
Read on about Commodus and Upper Class Gladiators….
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 |