Gladiators Essay

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The word gladiator comes from a Latin word meaning “swordsman" as “gladius” means "sword". Gladiators in Ancient Rome included both amateur and professional fighters who entered into bloody combats to entertain thousands of Roman spectators. These infamous gladiatorial matches were held in arena or amphitheaters that were found commonly throughout the Roman Empire. Gladiators, who emerged victorious in the combats, were treated with great adulation and were worshipped by people like heroes. They were the sources of inspiration for many and lived lavish lifestyles like that of any rock-music star of today. The idea of gladiator games or combats originated from the age old Estruscan custom where human sacrifice was done to pay homage to the dead. The first contests were held as one of the funeral rituals (munus) in 264 BC by Junius Brutus to honor his deceased father. Later, the gladiators were made to enter combat as a part of rituals that required human sacrifices to be made to the spirits of the dead. Gladiators were trained to play the role of Roman enemies in the arena. They wore an armor that was different from the Roman military armor and used non-Roman weaponry for the combats. The various roles that they played included that of a Thracian, a Secutor, a Retiarius, and a Samnite. They were criminals, prisoners of war, and slaves who were bought by Lanistas and trained in private schools called Ludi to become skilled gladiators. On the eagerly anticipated day when munera were scheduled at the Colosseum or another amphitheater, the gladiators first entered the arena in a colorful parade known as the pompa. This was similar in some ways to the procession of the athletes on opening day of the modern Olympic Games. The gladiators soberly raised their weapons toward the highest-ranking official present (usually either the emperor or munerarius, the

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