At one point the number of the upper class cavalry participating as Gladiators in order to make quick money and fame reached such a degree as to be limited by law.Suetonius tells us that Emperor Augustus decreed that none of the Senatorial or Equestrian order were to fight as Gladiators although successive emperors didn’t observe the rule. Possibly exaggerating, Suetonius goes on to tell us that Nero, less than 50 years after Augustus’s decree, presented 400 Senators and 600 Equestrians to fight.
Even Emperor Commodus rather loved himself to be called the “The Roman Hercules”. I think he even had it stamped on some of his coinage. He is said to have stepped into the arena 735 times as a Gladiator to fight with mock weapons and took an exorbitant pay out of the tax payer’s money for the privilege he was supposedly granting. His favourite role was that of the Secutor. Perhaps befittingly he died in his bath strangled by a wrestler.
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 |