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Life of a Gladiator 4/23/2013

this scene depicts the “bestiarii, a beast fighter”

The history of the gladiatorial tradition was a harsh reality for most. In the beginning, many were forced into combat despite their will. Prisoners of war, slaves and criminals were all subject to being forced into the games. Recruits had no rights to object to their role or they could face public execution for their defiance. The path each recruit followed was heavily predetermined by their individual situation. For example, a prisoner of war, from a specific region of Rome’s empire, would train and fight in a specific gladiatorial school specific to his heritage. Their ethnic background determined which armor they would wear, the weapons they would use and the actual fight they would train for. Each gladiator school was taught by an ex-gladiator who specialized in each combat.

Gladiators did enjoy an amount of creature comforts, despite common misconception. Although all gladiators had to face death in the arena, each individual received three meals a day and the ability to bathe. In order to help the warriors perform, they were given massages and slave women. The life of a gladiator was often appealing enough for free men to sign away their rights in order to fight for fame and glory. Before competition, a last meal was provided for each gladiator. Since death was an unavoidable reality for most fighters, each individual was taught to die with dignity, honor and grace.

all above information appropriated from


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