Are Gladiators Victims or Heroes?

By Daniel Michener

Views of a Gladiator

When the romans conquered Gaul, they had taken prisoners with them. These were either slaves, gladiators, or both. Gladiators were victims in their own eyes, as they were taken from their homeland, sold to a stranger, and then expected to fight animals and kinsmen. To the public, the victors were heroes, to be praised and idolized. Good gladiators were like ancient roman celebrities. The losers were forgotten after 5 minutes of attention.

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How does a Gladiator become a Gladiator?

Gladiators were, for the most most part, prisonors of war and criminals. But free men(and women) also signed up for the fame and glory. The contract gave the owner permission to beat them and other punishments. Financially challenged aristocrats would join for the money. All were sent to a lanista, or gladiator trainer. They would train in a style of fighting particular to a gladiator. Each different type of gladiator would have a different set of equipment. The secutor, for example, had a heavy shield and sword, as well as armor.