Friday, February 2

Who were Gladiators?

By 'Gladiators', I am not referring to the movie but to the ancient Roman swordsmen.
Just read this article for knowledge sake only gentleman.

Gladiators were professional fighters in ancient Rome who fought against each other, wild animals, and condemned criminals, sometimes to the death, for the entertainment of spectators. These fights took place in arenas in many cities during the Roman republic and the Roman Empire.

The gladiatorial games were originally established by the Etruscans, but were later adopted by the Romans as a means of entertainment. The Etruscans believed that when an important man died, his spirit needed a blood sacrifice to survive in the after life.

What a belief!

The first recorded gladiatorial combats took place in Rome in 264 BC, at the start of the First Punic War against Carthage. Decimus Junius Brutus Scaeva staged it in honour of his dead father. It was held between three pairs of slaves, and held in the Forum Boarium. The ceremony was called a munus or “duty paid to a dead ancestor by his descendants, with the intention of keeping alive his memory” (Baker, Gladiator 10). These were held for notable people and were repeated every one to five years after the person’s death.

Public spectacles took place in amphitheatres (like the Colosseum), during the latter half of the day after the fights against animals and public executions of criminals. Initially rich private individuals organized these, often to gain political favour with the public.

The person who organized the show was called the editor, munerator, or dominus and he was honoured with the official signs of a magistrate. Later the emperors would exert a near complete monopoly on staging public entertainment which included chariot racing in the circus, hunts of wild animals, public executions, theatrical performances and gladiator fights. There was usually musical accompaniment.

Emperor Trajan organized as many as 5,000 gladiator fighting pairs. Gladiator contests could take months to complete.

Gladiators could be also the property of a wealthy individual who would hire lanistae to train them in specialized training schools. Several senators and emperors had their own favourites.

Do you know that Gladiator fights were first outlawed by Constantine I in AD 325?

Source: Wikipedia

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