Gladiators of Ancient Rome-Greece Essay

This essay has a total of 3400 words and 14 pages.

Gladiators of Ancient Rome-Greece


The Rise of Gladiatorial Combat
Gladiatorial contests (munera gladitoria), hold a central place in our perception of Roman
behavior. They were also a big influence on how Romans themselves ordered their lives.
Attending the games was one of the practices that went with being a Roman. The Etruscans
who introduced this type of contest in the sixth century BC, are credited with its
development but its the Romans who made it famous. A surviving feature of the Roman games
was when a gladiator fell he was hauled out of the arena by a slave dressed as the
Etruscan death-demon Charun. The slave would carry a hammer which was the demon’s
attribute. Moreover, the Latin term for a trainer-manager of gladiators (lanista), was
believed to be an Etruscan word. (4:50) Gladiators of Ancient Rome lived their lives to
the absolute fullest.

Gladiatorial duels had originated from funeral games given in order to satisfy the dead
man’s need for blood, and for centuries their principle occasions were funerals. The
first gladiatorial combats therefore, took place at the graves of those being honored, but
once they became public spectacles they moved into amphitheaters. (2:83) As for the
gladiators themselves, an aura of religious sacrifice continued to hang about their
combats. Obviously most spectators just enjoyed the massacre without any remorseful
reflections. Even ancient writers felt no pity, they were aware that gladiators had
originated from these holocausts in honor of the dead. What was offered to appease the
dead was counted as a funeral rite. It is called munus (a service) from being a service
due. The ancients thought that by this sort of spectacle they rendered a service to the
dead, after they had made it a more cultured form of cruelty. The belief was that the
souls of the dead are appeased with human blood, they use to sacrifice captives or slaves
of poor quality at funerals. Afterwards it seemed good to obscure their impiety by making
it a pleasure. (6:170) So after the acquired person had been trained to fight as best
they can, their training was to learn to be killed! For such reasons gladiators were
sometimes known as bustuarii or funeral men. Throughout many centuries of Roman history,
these commemorations of the dead were still among the principle occasions for such
combats. Men writing their wills often made provisions for gladiatorial duels in
connection with their funerals. Early in the first century AD, the people of Pollentia
forcibly prevented the burial of an official, until his heirs had been compelled to
provide money for a gladiators’ show. (1:174)

It was in Campania and Lucania that the gladiatorial games came to their full development
and took on their classical form. In these new surroundings they took root and
flourished, as can be seen in fourth century BC, tomb paintings. These pictures show
helmeted gladiators carrying shields and lances, covered with wounds and dripping with
blood. (2:84) For Rome a decisive moment in gladiatorial history was reached in 246 BC,
the year when the first Punic War began. At the funeral of Brutus Pera, his two sons for
the first time exhibited, in the cattle market, three simultaneous gladiatorial combats.
By 216 BC the number of fights given on a single occasion had risen to twenty two.(14:16)
In 105 BC the two consuls of the year made gladiatorial games official. There were no
doubts of religious tendency, but the purpose of Roman spectacles, were a public display
of power, that power was primarily military, and also to compensate the soft Greek culture
which now was abroad. (8:98)


The Gladiators
Those compelled to fight gladiator duels included prisoners of war, slaves and condemned
criminals. Among them were numerous followers of the new Christian faith. During this
time persecution fell heavily on their faith, many won immortal fame as martyrs. Fighting
in the arena was one of the sentences earned by the sacrilege accused against members of
the Christian religion because of their refusal to sacrifice to the emperor. It was
written that these Christians were forced, as gladiatorial novices to run the gauntlet.
At other times they were thrown to the wild beasts. Criminals that were used had
committed crimes that carried a death sentence or harsh manual labor. The crimes which
led to the arena were murder, treason, robbery and arson. Criminals sentenced to forced
labor were often obliged to serve as gladiators, and were sentenced to three years of
combat and two years in the schools. Sometimes penalties were differentiated according to
social class, thus for certain crimes which in the case of slaves would involve execution,
free men or freedmen (ex-slaves) were condemned to fight in the arena instead. This did
not of course make them gladiators, unless they were trained first, as those required to
provide this sort of sport not always were. And indeed as gladiators became more
expensive in the second century AD the use of untrained criminals in the amphitheater
increased.(7:537) Most gladiators, at Rome and elsewhere were slaves, but in addition
there were always some free men who became gladiators because they wanted to. The
profession was an alternative to being a social outcast. They were generally derived from
the lowest ranking category of free persons, namely the freedman who had themselves been
slaves or were the son of slaves. Free fighters were more sought after than slaves,
presumably because they shower greater enthusiasm in the arena. Such a volunteer was
offered a bonus if he survived the term of his contract, yet he still had to swear the
terrible oath of submission to be burnt with fire, shackled with chains, whipped with rods
and killed with steel like the rest of the gladiators. For the period of his engagement,
he had become no more than a slave. (7:539)


Majestic Exhibitions and Schools
There seemed no end to public entertainment’s of one sort or another at Rome. First there
were the regular functions. The number of days in each year given up to annual games and
spectacles of one sort or another in the city was startlingly large, and increased
continually. Already 66 in the time of Augustus, it had risen to 135 under Marcus
Aurelius, and 175 or more in the fourth century. Gladiatorial amusement had become an
essential feature of the services a ruler had to provide, in order to maintain his
popularity and his job. Emperors themselves had to attend the shows. Emperors watching
the shows were distinct, vulnerable, and subject to public pressures which could not be
displayed elsewhere. That was why the games were not popular with a few rulers such as
Marcus Aurelius. He directed that if a gladiator was freed as a result of popular outcry
in the amphitheater the liberation was to be annulled. Aurelius found the sport boring and
indeed he was unenthusiastic about Roman entertainment in general. (10:87)

The teaching of gladiators was highly elaborate affair involving expertise appreciated by
those members of the public who attended the games for something more than blood and
thrills. Gladiators were trained at gladiator schools established during the late
Republic at the time of Sulla 138-78 BC. (2:86) Novices practiced with wooden swords on a
man of straw or a wooden post. The weapons used in more adept practice were heavier than
those used in the arena. Discipline was severe, with ruthless punishments. The barracks
they lived in were so low inmates could only sit or lie.(3:68) Breaking any rules was not
tolerated and resulted in strict reprimanding: shackles, flogging or even death. (2:86)
The main objective of the schools were to produce the best possible fighters for the
arena, thus scrupulous attention was invested in gladiator health. Their schools were
situated in favorable climates, and equipped with first class doctors. The schools were
also provided with resident medical consultants to check the men’s diet. Gladiators were
called hordearii, barley men, because of the amount of barley that they ate, a muscle
building food. (12:111)


The Types of Gladiators
From Republican times onward, foreign prisoners were made to fight with their own weapons
and in their own styles. Many of these men, were merely prisoners herded into the arena,
but various classes of professional gladiators likewise came from this category. Such,
for example was the origin of the gladiators known as the Samnites. Generally regarded as
the prototypes of all Rome’s gladiators, they are said to have come into existence after
its Samnite enemies introduced a splendid new type of military equipment in 310 BC.
Gladiators were ranked in different categories according to their fighting style and the
type of weapon they used. These Samnites wore the heavy, magnificent armor of soldiers.
It included a large shield (scutum), a leather or partly metal greave (ocrea) on the left
leg, and a visored helmet (galea) with huge crests and plumes. To these were added sword
(gladius) or lance (hasta), and the sleeve on the right arm which was part of a gladiators
general equipment.(11:121) Sectores were armed with a sword and mace loaded with lead.
Thraces carried a curved scimitar of varying shape, and a small square or round shield.
Myrmilliones (‘Guals’) carried a shield and a short scythe and wore a distinctive fish
ornament on their helmets. The Retiarii were exceptionally uncovered, except sometimes
for a head band. They carried a trident in one hand and a net in the other. Because the
throwing of a net as a method of combat, was second rate the Retarii were inferior in
status to the ranks, and thus had the worst living quarters. (2:86) The Myrmillo could
fight against the Thracian or against the Retiarius or net fighter. But the principle
opponent of the Retiarius was the Secutor.(12:109)


The Procedure of the Arena
Gladiatorial shows were intensively promoted and advertised to raise public attention.
Descriptions of upcoming contests, appeared on walls and on the grave stones beside main
roads. The opening ceremonies began the day before the fights. It was then that the
supporter of the show donated a splendid feast to the contestants about to appear on the
following day. The proceedings of the murderous day began with a chariot drive and
parade. Led and presented by the sponsor of the games. The gladiators displayed
themselves in uniforms topped by cloaks dyed purple with gold embroidery. Climbing down
their chariots, they marched around the arena, followed by slaves carrying their arms and
armor. Gladiators, especially those who belonged to the emperor’s own troop, were often
finely equipped. When the combatants arrived opposite the emperor’s platform, they
extended their right hands towards him and cried ‘Hail, emperor, greetings from men about
to die!’ (Ave, imperator, morituri te salutant!) (7:538)

The games often opened with a convicted criminal being thrown to a lion. The criminal was
given a small sword, and if he could kill the lion his life was spared. Another way in
which they opened the games was to tie the criminal to a pillar and lower him into a pit
of hungry beasts. After these morbid killings took place, the animal events would take
center stage. The most common of these fights would be a lion against bear. To make the
beast ready for fighting they would starved the animals and poked them with sticks while
in the cage.(5:17) These events were followed by a break, during this break Gladiatores
Meridiane took place. This event consisted of a fully armed gladiator against an unarmed
Continues for 7 more pages >>




  • The Competitors
    The Competitors As thousands of people poured into the rectangular shaped stadium for what was being called, "the event of the century" , the participants readied themselves for the hardships they would surely suffer from the games. After a long grueling season of intense bodily torture this would by the final chapter of confrontations. Out of the 275 original members of the DFS leagues infant year, only 20 remained. These men and women were not only hardened on the outside, but on the inside as
  • Violence in Society
    Violence in Society It gained through violent behavior is only temporary and it lasts until the time of revenge comes around. Violence was glorified hundreds of years ago. Back then it was a form of a pure entertainment. We know how among ancient Romans, gladiators (usually slaves or captives trained for the purpose),fought with swords or other weapons at public "shows". The more harm the gladiators inflicted the bigger hero he was, and the more respect he gained. All the crimes they committed w
  • Pay Them (salaries Of Pro Ball Players)
    Pay Them (salaries Of Pro Ball Players) Pay Them There was a time when men played for the love of the game; when competition alone satisfied the male ego. This age of basketball featured greats such as Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, and Oscar Robinson. These gladiators, and those like them, battled repeatedly winning league championships, MVP’s, scoring titles, and other accolades. Then, the product of James Naismith moved into an era where the love continued, but money was added. Clyde Drexler
  • Players Salaries
    Players Salaries Michael G. Bus law There was a time when men played for the love of the game; when competition alone satisfied the male ego. This age of basketball featured greats such as Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, and Oscar Robinson. These gladiators, and those like them, battled repeatedly winning league championships, MVP’s, scoring titles, and other accolades. Then, the product of James Naismith moved into an era where the love continued, but money was added. Clyde Drexler, Charles Bar
  • Todd Gray
    Todd Gray Todd Gray: Iconographic Photography The subjective nature presented in Todd Gray’s photographs appears to reflect the upbringings of the artist himself. In his photograph entitled Anti-Euro, Gray studied the idea of being a “floating entity.” He attempts to reveal the notion that all people are mixed in some way and that no one is really pure black or pure white. He conceived the notion of creating his own mythology after reading influential books. Gray states, “I would read Greek and
  • Gladiators of Ancient Rome-Greece
    Gladiators of Ancient Rome-Greece The Rise of Gladiatorial Combat Gladiatorial contests (munera gladitoria), hold a central place in our perception of Roman behavior. They were also a big influence on how Romans themselves ordered their lives. Attending the games was one of the practices that went with being a Roman. The Etruscans who introduced this type of contest in the sixth century BC, are credited with its development but its the Romans who made it famous. A surviving feature of the Roman
  • The Trojan War
    The Trojan War The Trojan War took place in approximately the 13th century. The ancient Greeks defeated the City of Troy. The Trojan War started after an incident at the wedding feast of Peleus, the king of Thessaly, and Thetis, a sea goddess. All the gods and goddesses of Mt. Olympus had been invited except Eris, the goddess of discord. Eris was offended and tried to stir up trouble among the guests at the feast. She sent a golden apple inscribed “For the most beautiful.” Hera, Athena, and Aphr
  • Architecture
    architecture In the minds of the Romans, the amphitheater was a place of significant symbolic meaning. It was a place of civilized order where, from the Roman point of view, the victory of civilization over lawlessness, chaos, barbarism, and savagery was regularly enacted. It was also a place of justice: certain criminals were executed there by being given to the wild beasts or were forced to fight to the death as gladiators. It also represented the domination of Rome over its enemies: prisoners
  • Violent Behavior in Society
    Violent Behavior in Society It gained through violent behavior is only temporary and it lasts until the time of revenge comes around. Violence was glorified hundreds of years ago. Back then it was a form of a pure entertainment. We know how among ancient Romans, gladiators (usually slaves or captives trained for the purpose),fought with swords or other weapons at public "shows". The more harm the gladiators inflicted the bigger hero he was, and the more respect he gained. All the crimes they com
  • Creative Writing: The Competitors
    Creative Writing: The Competitors As thousands of people poured into the rectangular shaped stadium for what was being called, "the event of the century" , the participants readied themselves for the hardships they would surely suffer from the games. After a long grueling season of intense bodily torture this would by the final chapter of confrontations. Out of the 275 original members of the DFS leagues infant year, only 20 remained. These men and women were not only hardened on the outside, bu
  • The Rise of Gladiatorial Combat in Rome
    The Rise of Gladiatorial Combat in Rome Gladiatorial contests (munera gladitoria), hold a central place in our perception of Roman behavior. They were also a big influence on how Romans themselves ordered their lives. Attending the games was one of the practices that went with being a Roman. The Etruscans who introduced this type of contest in the sixth century BC, are credited with its development but its the Romans who made it famous. A surviving feature of the Roman games was when a gladiator
  • The Trojan War
    The Trojan War The Trojan War took place in approximately the 13th century. The ancient Greeks defeated the City of Troy. The Trojan War started after an incident at the wedding feast of Peleus, the king of Thessaly, and Thetis, a sea goddess. All the gods and goddesses of Mt. Olympus had been invited except Eris, the goddess of discord. Eris was offended and tried to stir up trouble among the guests at the feast. She sent a golden apple inscribed “For the most beautiful.” Hera, Athena, and Aphr
  • The Roman Society
    The Roman Society The changes in the Roman government affected the social classes and rights gradually became more equal among the people of Rome. New laws and new leaders tried to make society become closer in equality through reforms. It was a long and difficult process to be freed or to become a citizen of Rome and not many accomplished it. Plebeians and woman were thought of as worthless citizens in society, but through time they gained more rights. To show that this is true, I will be addre
  • “There is always one moment in a childhood when th
    “There is always one moment in a childhood when the door opens and lets the future in” Gr12R English essay I can still remember the drop kick kicked over by Joel Stransky in 1995, I was only 9 but old enough to have tears in my eyes and a rush of blood throughout my whole body. I was sitting with a couple of my dad’s friends when the final was being played. A short while afterwards on of my dad’s friends Steve asked me if I had ever played rugby before, coming from an English home the only thing
  • Roman Civilization
    Roman Civilization 1. Domus Tiberiana- 2. Barracks for the Praetorian Guard-Built inside Rome during the reign of Tiberius (14-37 CE) because Tiberius was somewhat paranoid about an assassination attempt. This was the first time the guard was housed within Rome, thus giving them a bigger role in politics and allowing them to become an extremely powerful force (thus, they were eventually able to kill Caligula, make Claudius emperor, etc…) 3. Sanctuary to Isis- according to Wendy we don’t need to
  • Violence is as American as Cherry Pie
    Violence is as American as Cherry Pie Violence can be found in every facet of contemporary society, from the movies and television’s evening news to school violence. An act of violence can be as small as a threat, but nevertheless it is one of the most common aspects of life. Violence has existed as long as people have been on Earth. The first acts of violence were hunting. Hunting provided a food source before people learned how to cultivate the land. The focus of violence shifted from hunting
  • Great Expectations: the world of laws, crime and p
    Great Expectations: the world of laws, crime and punishment The World of Laws, Crime and Punishment in Great Expectations Great Expectations criticises the Victorian judicial and penal system. Through the novel, Charles Dickens displays his point of view of criminality and punishment. This is shown in his portraits of all pieces of such system: the lawyer, the clerk, the judge, the prison authorities and the convicts. In treating the theme of the Victorian system of punishment, Dickens shows his
  • Roman Empire
    Roman Empire Octavian(63 BC-14 AD) is known as the first, and one of the greatest, Roman Emperors ever. Octavian enabled the long, peaceful time of the Pax Romana by changing Rome from a fragile, crumbling republican government to a mighty empire. Octavian’s government was strong enough to withstand weak emperors who mismanaged the Empire. His changes proved to be the cornerstone of the greatest empire the world has ever seen. During the Conflict of Orders, the lower class Romans, or plebians, f
  • Holistic Medicine
    Holistic Medicine Millions of people around the world are living with pain that could be prevented with the use of alternative therapies. As a result many of these people use harmful or ineffective drugs and surgeries in an attempt to cure their ailments. With a steady schedule of massage therapy, acupuncture, and healthy foods, people can lead a healthy and invigorating life without drugs or surgery. During the time of the ancient Roman gladiators, massage therapy was used to treat everything f
  • Therapy
    Therapy Millions of people around the world are living with pain that could be prevented with the use of alternative therapies. As a result many of these people use harmful or ineffective drugs and surgeries in an attempt to cure their ailments. With a steady schedule of massage therapy, acupuncture, and healthy foods, people can lead a healthy and invigorating life without drugs or surgery. During the time of the ancient Roman gladiators, massage therapy was used to treat everything from headac
  • Rome
    Rome TROY HOGGARD Mr. Terry May 25, 1997 10th grade ROME Introduction Rome also known as the ancient city was the capital of the greatest empire of the ancient world. It was a great and prosperous city that was filled with at least one million people. Many people believe that the height of the city of Rome reached its height near the time that emperor constantius the second had seen it for the first time. When he had seen all the sights such as the sanctuary of Jupiter capitolinus, the public ba
  • Gaius Marius
    Gaius Marius C. Marius Savior.. or Destroyer? Warren Parker October 6th, 1998 Gaius Marius was the Janus-faced savior of Rome. On one hand his sweeping military reforms intensified Rome’s might at a crucial time, during the Jugurthine war, saving Rome from the steady advance of their Italian enemies. On the other, his no-frills military-minded personality drove him to push those away who could not socially accept this lower-upper class equestrian novus homo. He proved himself a most capable mili
  • Roman Empire
    Roman Empire "The union of the Roman empire was dissolved; its genius was humbled in the dust; and armies of unknown barbarians, issuing from the frozen regions of the North, had established their victorious reign over the fairest provinces of Europe and Africa." Edward Gibbon "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" Scholars of Late Antiquity have long labored under the shadow of two monumental works: Edward Gibbon\'s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1787) and M. I. Rostovtzeff\'s Social and
  • Athletic And Sporting Events in Ancient Roman Time
    Athletic And Sporting Events in Ancient Roman Times It must have been exciting living during ancient Roman times because of all the holidays, festivals, and other gala events. Spectator sports were very popular back then and the main form of entertainment. An examination of the forms of entertainment which were predominant during this period will provide a better understanding of Roman society during its glory years. A look at the origin and purpose of the "games" is an ideal place to start. Gla
  • Ancient Rome
    Ancient Rome Roman games were much like Greek games, but there was more physical contact sports such as Gladiator combats, man against beast, and water battles. Chariot races were the same as the Greek chariot races. Rome had many different types of chariots. Biage were chariots pulled by two horses, and quadrigae chariots were pulled by four horses. Each race had 12 chariots going on one track at once. The racers would take 7 laps around the arena which would be a total of 5 miles long. Teams o