Roman Gladiators - Summary

Life in ancient Rome is hard. Fathers leave their families to defend the Empire's far-flung borders. Mothers have many children, but many of them die. In ancient Rome, there is a distinct class system with low classes bearing the largest burdens. 

To distract citizens from the daily grind, and to protect their own base of power, the Emperor and other rich families host gladiator games. The spectacles are often bloody, a tradition started in Rome by its earlier conquerors, the Etruscans.

Some gladiators are volunteers who risk their legal and social standing and their lives by appearing in the arena. By volunteering, the professional gladiators legally become slaves to a master. Others are slaves or captured foreigners forced to become brutal killers, in the gladiator games, just so the Romans can be entertained.

In the Colosseum - away from the wild animals often brought into the arena - Rome's citizens are safe and separated by class distinctions. Gladiators are Rome's equivalent of movie stars (except that gladiators are usually members of the lowest class). 

Sometimes they watch men fight other men. Sometimes gladiators fight wild animals, instead of each other. Sometimes animals kill other animals. The arena floor is always covered with sand to soak up blood.

Spectators in the Colosseum often decide if a gladiator will live or die with “thumbs up” or “thumbs down.” Spectators require gladiators to not only fight well but die well for their entertainment.

Virtually visit ancient Rome and the Colosseum. Meet the beloved Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Meet Commodus, a terrible Roman emperor (180-192 AD) and a brutal "gladiator."

Discover what ancient historians have to say about Commodus, the son of Marcus Aurelius. Uncover the plot, planned by Commodus' closest associates, which results in his death. Learn how Christians live in ancient Rome.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Jul 05, 2004

Updated Last Revision: Apr 28, 2015

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"Roman Gladiators" AwesomeStories.com. Jul 05, 2004. Jan 25, 2020.
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