Presentation on theme: "WE WHO ARE ABOUT TO DIE SALUTE YOU. The first gladiatorial games took place in 264 bc as part of a funeral of an aristocrat 3 pairs of slaves fought as."— Presentation transcript:
The first gladiatorial games took place in 264 bc as part of a funeral of an aristocrat 3 pairs of slaves fought as a tribute to Decimus Junius Brutus. Gladiator fights did not become public games until the 1st century AD.
Gladiators were often recruited from slaves, criminals, and prisoners of war. These people could be forced to become gladiators. Slaves who were successful in the arena could earn their freedom.
Later, men volunteered to become gladiators. Why? For wealth and fame. By the time of the fall of Rome, over half of all gladiators were volunteers.
The lives of gladiators were harsh, and the training was brutal. They bound themselves to a lunista, the owner of a troupe of gladiators, and were often chained together for long periods. (In fact, the only time they were unchained was when they went to the bathroom. Any failure in training could be punished by flogging.
Even so, the gladiators lived better lives than many common Romans. They had free food, housing, and medical care, and were often the objects of adoration by the opposite sex.
A day of gladiatorial games usually started with fights of groups of men against bears, lions, tigers, and other exotic animals. (This was dangerous for the trainer of the animals as well, because if they failed to attack, he could be executed.) These events were followed by the public executions of criminals.
There were many types of gladiators, each with its own weapons, armor, and shield. 1. The HOPLOMACHUS was based on the Greek hoplite, and wore a helmet with a griffin on the crest. Fully armored, he wore wool leggings, shin guards, carried a short sword (called a gladius), and a small, round shield. He usually fought against the THRACES.
2. THRACES were equipped with a broad-rimmed helmet that covered the whole head, and a small, square shield, high leggings, and a curved sword.
3. MIRMILLONE wore a helmet with a fish on top, and carried a gladius and an oblong shield. He also wore an arm guard of heavy cloth and leather. He usually fought against the RETIARII.
4. RETIARII, the fisherman, was the most lightly armed of all the gladiators, He carried a 3- pronged spear called a trident, a dagger, and a net. He wore a large arm guard that protected part of his chest, and a metal chest guard.
And don't forget the females. There are records of more than one GLADIATRIX fighting and killing male gladiators.
Fights went on until one gladiator was dead, or gave up. A gladiator acknowledged his defeat by raising a finger. The audience, sponsor, or emperor decided his fate. Usually, a thumb up meant he lived, and a thumb stabbed downward meant death.
A gladiator was far less likely to die than is commonly believed. One who fought well and honorably would generally be spared. Only about 10% of gladiators died in the arena. And the typical gladiator only fought about 3 times per year.
A gladiator who fought in several matches was generally allowed to retire. He was given a wooden sword as a memento, and often became a gladiator trainer.
Gladiatorial games often took place in huge amphitheaters, of which the biggest and most famous was the Colosseum in Rome itself.
It held 50,000 spectators and could be filled and emptied in only a few minutes. It covers 6 acres and was about 15 stores tall, with tunnels and passageways underneath. It could even be filled with water for recreations of naval battles.
The emperor Commodus liked to stage fights between little people and women. He also appeared in the arena himself dressed as Hercules. In a position of little risk to himself, he killed beasts and men with a club.
The largest known gladiator fight was staged by emperor Trajan as part of a victory celebration in 107 AD. It included 5,000 pairs of gladiators in one match.
Probably the most famous gladiator of all time was Spartacus. He led a huge revolt of escaped gladiators and slaves against the Roman republic. The revolt lasted for two years, and after that, if there was any kind of riot in Rome, they took the gladiators out of the city.
Spartacus saw some victory against the legions, but eventually his small force was overwhelmed by a larger Roman force, and destroyed in a brave last stand. Most of the gladiators and slaves were killed, and though history doesn’t record the body of Spartacus being found, it is commonly believed he died with his men.
Gladiators were the superstars of ancient Rome. Their job was brutal, dangerous, and deadly, but the rewards were powerful and tempting for the time. What do you think? Have we advanced since then? Are we so different from those bloodthirsty Romans in the Colosseum?
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