Graphic History

An­cient Rome’s sport­ing heroes fought for glory, free­dom and the roar of the mob

History Revealed - - CONTENTS -

Glad­i­a­tors of An­cient Rome

G la­di­a­to­rial games were the great sport­ing spec­ta­cles of An­cient Rome. Known as the

ludi, they were lav­ish af­fairs which, at the height of their pop­u­lar­ity dur­ing the first and se­cond cen­turies BC, could last for more than a hun­dred days and in­volve thou­sands of glad­i­a­tors.

En­emy sol­diers were typ­i­cally forced to be­come glad­i­a­tors af­ter be­ing taken pris­oner. Oth­ers were crim­i­nals, usu­ally con­demned ei­ther to gla­di­a­tor schools for train­ing or to the arena with­out it – in which case, they weren’t ex­pected to live for long.

Some were vol­un­teers, hop­ing for eter­nal glory. But for most, for the ones who had no choice, the ul­ti­mate prize was the rudis, the wooden sword that con­ferred a gla­di­a­tor’s free­dom.

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