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Death of Epicharmus of Cos

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An investigation into gladiators lives and why Romans were interested in them Gladiators Although they occupied one of the lowest rungs on the Roman society hierarchical ladder, Gladiators were widely regarded as some of the bravest members of Roman society. A gladiator was considered a professional fighter and apart from fighting other gladiators, would also pit his skills against animals in amphitheatres all over the Roman Empire. It is believed that the first gladiators were slaves, made to fight at the funeral of an aristocrat, Junius Brutus Pera in 264BC. These "battles" started out as simple ceremonial acts at funerals before evolving into the sort of grand entertainment that we now think of as a typical day in the colliseum or indeed any of the amphitheatres around the empire. The word Gladiator comes from the Latin meaning swordsman, which in turn comes from the word gladius which was a short sword used by soldiers in the Roman army. Gladiators were usually men but few were women, usually slaves or prisoners who were bought by a manager and trainer of gladiators (known as a lanista) in order to be trained as proper gladiators. There were also some free men who actually volunteered to be gladiators, no doubt looking for the icon status that the profession offered to victorious entrants, a lot like "celebrities" of today aspiring to becoming famous and idolised. All gladiators swore a solemn oath (sacrementum gladiatorum) which stated: "I will endure to be burned, to be bound, to be beaten, and to be killed by the sword" (uri, vincini, verberari, ferroque necari, Petronius Satyricum 117). This showed the importance of the games as the gladiators were willing to die simply for the amusement of others. There were several different types of gladiators who were trained to stand out in the use of different weapons, and wore different types of armour depending on the type of combat they were to enter. ...read more.


When Rome falls, the world will fall". (Quandiu stabit coliseus, stabit et Roma; quando cadit coliseus, cadet et Roma; quando cadet Roma, cadet et mundus) This translates that if the Colosseum plummet there will be no more Rome and it will also lose its power. The Romans were living in a time, when most of the government and community were mainly focused on conquering, whether it was a country or person. The Colosseum was a way for Rome to demonstrate to the population the power and glory of Rome and the Roman Empire. The Colosseum arena (Flavian Amphitheatre showing the hypogeum with it spectator seats and underground tunnels where gladiators and animals were kept. The Game The games were primarily important because of what they offered those involved. Many people profited from the games, in particular those who hosted them. The games communicated the way of life of the upper classes, for anyone who hosted the games it was a measure of their wealth as the expense was huge due to the number of beasts and fighters needed to entertain the crowd for any length of time. A new generation of traders and politicians found fame and popularity because they were able to spend great amounts to stage the games, which increased their status and influence within the upper social circle of the Roman class system. Because of the way the games were held, it allowed the common people to mix with the upper classes. The games were usually a whole day event. It began with an elaborate procession. The parade and subsequent events were often accompanied by music. The morning's events would start with mock fights, followed by animal displays featuring trained animals that performed tricks. In the afternoon came the highpoint of the games - individual gladiatorial combats. These were usually matches between gladiators with different types of armour and fighting styles. ...read more.


Slaves with diseases are made to hold a sign so that people know there is something wrong with them. The slave-dealer asks people to call out prices and he will sell you to the person who pays the most. You have been bought by a wealthy Roman, who plans to turn you from a Gallia comata, Latin meaning a 'hairy Gaul', into a civilised Roman gladiator. You will be trained to fight and will entertain the Romans in the arena. The teaching begins Your new owner has decided you will be sent to a ludus gladiatorius - a school where slaves, criminals and other wretches are trained to fight as gladiators. Once inside, the gates there will be no escape. Every gladiator school had an arena so that the trainees could practise there fighting. Model of Rome's Great Gladiatorial Training School (Ludus Magnus) You will be trained to fight by a lanista 'butcher', an old gladiator whose fighting days are over (a gift given as a mark of you surviving the arena was a wooden sword called a rudis). The first weapons you would be coached with would be blunt and lightly be a wooden sword the your first opponent would be a wooden post called a palus which was kind of like a scare crow I in one way or the(well built men were called bordearii and which means barley men). There are three main reasons why you as a trainee are not allowed to use any other weapons except blunt ones. 1. Romans do not trust you and think that you are going to attack or kill them. 2. Owners do not want you to injure yourself before a game 3. You were expensive to buy Conclusion In a summary, the gladiators were important because of what they could offer both the public and the wealthy in respect of entertainment, status and prestige. The games were also important to Romans because of where they were held and where the gladiatorial contests took place in an amphitheatre. ...read more.

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