Ancient Roman gladiators
heroes or victims?
The gladiatorial games were a very big entertainment event in Rome. The first gladiatorial contest in Rome took place in 264 BC as part of one of these funeral rituals called a munus. Gladiators were typically criminals, slaves, and prisoners of war. It could also have been rich people who chose to be gladiators. In the beggining women could also participate but eventually they were banned because there were too many women. The games were a fight until death, and the Emperor was the one who chose who won most of the time. There were three parts to the games, the beggining was the fight man vs. man, the second part was animal vs. animal, and there was a lunch break in between the first and second parts. The games were always crowded, and people went to be with friends. Also, the food was free.
Priscus vs. Verus
This was the only gladiatorial game described in great detail. It was described by a poet, Martial. It was between the two best warriors, Priscus and Verus. After a long battle, they both tied. Not because they died at the same time, but because the emperor ordered they did so. They were both crowned winners.
Heroes vs. Victims
There has been some debate about whether gladiators are hereoes or victims. To many people today, Roman entertainment was cruel. However, not all forms of entertainment involved violence. Many educated Romans were appalled by the cruelty of the events put on at the Colosseum. Gladiators were an important part of ancient Roman culture. People saw them as a symbol of Rome’s power. Gladiators were both heroes and victims. Sometimes, gladiators fought against animals. Other times, they fought against other gladiators. And usually, they fought until someone died. The first Roman gladiators were not trained fighters. They were slaves, people who were captured in wars, and criminals. This is why some people call gladiators “warrior slaves. Most of these early gladiators did not want to fight. They fought because they were forced to. And they fought to save their lives and become free. However, there were some gladiators who wanted to fight. They chose to be gladiators to win money, honor, and fame. Gladiators who won many fights often became famous - like sports heroes today. “The gladiators were the superstars of their day. People loved them and followed them in the streets... At the same time, their job promised that they would have a horrible, bloody death. Some gladiators won money, retired, and then lived in peace. But most died in hot sand, surrounded by the cheers of the crowd.” So really it depends on how good of a fighter you are. If you win, your a hero and everyone praises you. However, if you lose then obviously you're a victim.