Gladiators were the rugby league players of ancient Rome. They were entertainment for the people. Many politics would put gladiator fights on to win the publics vote. This essay will explain the history behind gladiators, who were the gladiators, where did gladiators come from, Types of gladiators, the training gladiators went through, and also a little on women in the arena.

Gladiator fights were first introduced into Rome in 264 BC when the son of Brutus Pera paid honor to his father by showing three pairs of gladiators fighting. The Romans loved watching these barbaric fights and the event soon became one of the Romans favorite types of entertainment for the amusement of the general public, which was held in the coliseum.
Who the Roman gladiators were. Gladiators (named after the Roman sword called the gladius) were mostly unfree individuals (condemned criminals, prisoners of war, slaves). Some gladiators were volunteers (mostly freedmen or very low classes of freeborn men) who chose to take on the status of a slave for the monetary rewards or the fame and excitement. Anyone who became a gladiator was automatically infamis, beneath the law and by definition not a respectable citizen of Rome. A small number of upper-class men did compete in the arena, but they did not live with the other gladiators and constituted a special, esoteric form of entertainment (as did the extremely rare women who competed in the arena). All gladiators swore a solemn oath (sacramentum gladiatorium), similar to that sworn by the legionary but a lot more dire: “I will endure to be burned, to be bound, to be beaten, and to be killed by the sword” (uri, vinciri, verberari, ferroque necari, Petronius Satyricon 117). Some gladiators did not fight more than two or three times a year (that was also the average lifespan), and the best of them became popular heroes. Skilled fighters might win a good deal of money and the wooden sword (rudis) that symbolized their freedom. Freed gladiators...