Gladiators: Heros or Victims?

By Chloe Musselman and Jessica Henry

Who Were Gladiators?

Most gladiators were criminals who lost their citizenship rights, but some were slaves and volunteers. Slaves and criminals had to accept the offer, if given. They were trained as athletes and were forced to fight to the death in a series of three competitions. Gladiator's were taught by a lanista, who are owners of gladiatorial troupes, and were trained in the lanista’s school.

Pros and Cons

As horrible as being a Roman gladiator does sound, there are a few upsides to it. For instance, if you won, you would be rich with fame and wealth. Many once wealthy men who lost all of their money and were in debt became gladiators for that very reason. Another pro about being a Roman gladiator is that there doesn't have to be just one winner! While the emperor is in change of the games, the audience ultimately decides who stays and who goes. If the emperor notices that the audience thinks that someone, or multiple people, should be spared, then the emperor will make that happen. They also had a chance to ask for mercy, by sticking up his or her index finger in defeat, and the emperor will decide, along with the audience, if they deserve to live. The disadvantages are more obvious. If a gladiator walks into the arena without being prepared or having taken the training seriously, they may not come out at all! However, when they would walk out they may be traumatized. That might apply more in modern times though, because Romans were not afraid of death.


In our opinion, Roman gladiators are victims, whether they win, or die trying. Even if someone wins, they have to remember seeing all those people die, and maybe even killing someone. Saying that gladiators aren't victims would be like the Capitol saying that the tributes in the Hunger Games are heroes. In both, the participants should be considered victims.

Life in Rome: Gladiators

Check out these links below for more information on gladiators.