5 Interesting Facts About Gladiators – Ancient Superstars

Roman gladiators have become quite popular characters in modern culture, and today we know relatively much about these ancient warriors.

Unfortunately, modern movies are quite distorted the true picture of them, and convince us that the gladiatorial games were an orgy of blood and inevitable death.

But history tells a different story: they were carefully planned events in which is invested a lot of money and effort. Too much to make the life of a gladiator been lost.

5. Gladiators are in most cases survived the battle, even when losses

Everyone is asking do gladiators fight to the death? There is no doubt that the gladiators put their lives on the line by entering the amphitheater, but it is this moment of danger was the most important part of the game. According to Professor Fritz Krinzinger of the Austrian Archaeological Institute, gladiators were like today’s Formula 1 driver.

Gladiator maskEvery time they performed, they are exposed to serious danger, but are, like today (extreme) athletes were ready to risk life for their sport.

Modern science and archeology today provide us with a more detailed insight into the life of a gladiator. So we now know that these famous prisoners have a fairly good medical care. Their wounds and fractures were treated, and even during the recovery have been subjected to physical therapy. Historical documents indicate that some gladiators had their own private doctors and masseurs, and their diet is carefully monitored.

The analysis of 100 gladiator fights from the 1st century, it was found that only 19 of 200 gladiators lost their lives in the arena. They were simply too precious to die.

4. Gladiators had their sponsors

Gladiator fightLike today’s sports, gladiator combats was ruled financial interest. Laniste, entrepreneurs who buy, sell and recruit new glaijatore were the most important factor of this bloody sport. They rented gladiators for the fight, but before that they had been taken in the gladiatorial school, trained, well fed … Lanistae are in the their gladiators invested a lot of resources.

Lanistae (lanista) were so powerful that they are generally the ones who decided about life of a gladiator, not a public or organizer. Since the money invested in their fighters, their interest was not to kill them, or too injured carry out from the amphitheater. Lanista had every right to ask the judge (yes, every fight had a judge) to spare the soldier or to declare the fight unresolved, to prevent causing further injury.

If gladiator fights lasted too long, tired fighters had the right to surrender, and this would done in such a way as would cast a sword and shield to the ground and then raised his hand with outstretched index finger. If the fight was good and fair, the audience cried out “misso” (mercy), but if the audience was not satisfied, they screaming “lugula” (slaughter him). In such moments, the organizer of the fight would have the last word – to satisfy the desire of bloodthirsty audience and to pay Lanista massive damages for the death of his fighter. As today, money is deciding outcomes.

3. Gladiators were well rewarded for their efforts

No one in Rome did not want to see the famous gladiator loses life in the arena, not even Julius Caesar who has even issued an order that during the gladiatorial shows, organized for his daughter Julia “Gladiators who do not cause delight of the audience should be preserved and saved” . The historian Suetonius wrote that even the bloodthirsty Nero did not want to watch the gladiators die, so he ordered that no gladiator is killed during performances in the Campus Martius.

Gladiator armorAll this talk about the status of gladiators in the Roman Empire, and that they were famous and wealthy athletes confirmed in the fact that the winners were also very well rewarded after the fight. After the fight, the winner is allowed to climb to the lodge where dignitaries were seated, and there would have received the award – a palm branch and a bag with money that was supposed to keep, despite the fact that he was a slave. For outstanding performances, gladiators were able to get the laurel wreath, which was the equivalent of a gold medal. Some ‘free people’ became gladiators precisely because of these awards.

Since most gladiators came from lower castes – were slaves, criminals or captured soldiers, this award gave them a chance to acquire great wealth – and most importantly, freedom. Every free a gladiator get a plate where it was engraved his name, and his sponsor would receive significant compensation for the lost fighter.

2. Gladiators had their fans

Fight arenaA mixture of muscular body and courage always is well passed at a female audience. Art names of gladiators, like Narcissus or Eros, were talked about how organizers want to attract the attention of the female part of the audience, and record of one gladiator, celadus, tells how the girls loved him.

In the 2nd century AD satirist Juvenal mocked the one nobleman whose wife ran off with gladiator: “on his face were slightly deformation: the scar from a helmet, a huge bump on the nose. But what women like is sword. “

1. Gladiatorial games were carefully planned

Today we know that all the gladiatorial games were far above the ordinary orgies of blood and inevitable death. These duels were carefully planned and took place under the watchful eye of the judges. Gladiators were soldiers who were regularly trained and skills of thrusting, dodging and parrying which provoked enthusiasm among the crowd were nothing more than a well-trained moves. Historians this fight compare with today’s boxing matches – except that instead of gloves, fighters have swords.

Death of gladiator in arenaGladiatorial games were all-day event. The day always began with performances involving animals that are most reminiscent of a staged hunt. After that, during the lunch break, performed to a public execution of criminals sentenced to death that could have been killed in various ways: crucifixion, throwing to the lions … After the brutal executions in which the audience really enjoyed, came to break with some comedy act, or even dance act.

Finally in the afternoon in the arena began to appear gladiators, wearing ornate armor and shields, accompanied by the sounds of drums and fanfares. All information about gladiators were announced to the audience, and in particular were highlighted their previous victories and awards they have received. Gladiators were first warming up with wood or blunt weapon, showing the audience their skills. Pre-trained moves (like today’s wrestling matches) have provoked the excitement and applause.

Read more here about Gladiator training and Types of gladiators