10 Things You May Not Know About Roman Gladiators
1. They weren’t always slaves.
Not all gladiators were brought to the arena in chains. While most early combatants were conquered peoples and slaves who had committed crimes, grave inscriptions show that by the 1st century A.D. the demographics had started to change. Lured by the thrill of battle and the roar of the crowds, scores of free men began voluntarily signing contracts with gladiator schools in the hope of winning glory and prize money. These freelance warriors were often desperate men or ex-soldiers skilled in fighting, but some were upper-class patricians, knights and even senators eager to demonstrate their warrior pedigree.
2. Gladiatorial bouts were originally part of funeral ceremonies.
Many ancient chroniclers de… Continue Reading (6 minute read)