What was the social perception of Gladiators by their contemporaries in Ancient time?
Roman Gladiators in general were criminals, condemned prisoners of war, or even sometimes slaves, bought by a Lanistae, or owner of gladiators, for the single purpose of gladiatorial combat. The life as a gladiator started as a raw recruit who were called novicius. When they had completed their initial training and were ready to fight in the arena they were called Tirones gladiatores or Tiro. The Tirones often had tattoos applied as an identifying mark on the face, legs and hands in order to make it difficult to hide if they escaped. But the real professional Gladiators were free men who volunteered for this position. These men were soldiers and rich men seeking individual fame and glory. The crowds treated this type as celebrities and preferred them over the slaves and prisoners. There were many types of gladiators, each fighting for different reasons. Romans citizens legally derogated as infamous sold themselves to lanistae and were known as auctorati. Their social status was neither that of volunteers nor condemned criminals, or slaves. Condemned criminals, the ‘damnati ad mortem’ who committed a capital crime, entered the gladiatorial arena weaponless. The criminals that did not commit a capital crime were trained in private Gladiator schools which were called Ludi. At these institutes, gladiators became specialists in crippling and capturing their opponents rather then killing them a quick painless way. Criminals trained in this school fought with weapons and armour of their choice and could ultimately earn their freedom if they survived 3 to 5 years in arena combat. Today, many artefacts including pottery and art findings include drawings and inscriptions of gladiators in battle, slaughtering each other and animals. This is primary evidence of these warriors, treated like rock stars.
Crowd support would have played a massive role in confidence and self...