Roman Gladiators

A History

Definition

A Gladiator was an armed combatant who entertained audiences in the Roman Republic and Roman Empire in violent confrontations with other gladiators, exotic animals or criminals.


Origins

The origin of gladiatorial combat is open to debate, There is evidence of it in some funeral rites from the Punic wars of the 3rd century BCE, and thereafter it became an important part of social life in Roman culture.


Famous Figures

By far the most famous gladiator in history was Spartacus. He was a Thracion soldier who was captured and sold into slavery. Lentulus Batiatus of Capua recognized his potential and bought him with the intent of turning him into a gladiator. Eventually Spartacus rebelled and set many slaves and gladiators free with the help of 70 other men


The Affect of Gladiatorial Events on Roman Culture

Gladiator fights were used by the roman government to provide entertainment to every social class- but particularly aimed at the poor. The government wanted to make sure that the majority of the population was happy so that they didn't rebel.



The First Match

The first gladiatorial match of Rome took place in 264 BCE as part of a funeral ritual.