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The history and weapons used in a gladiator fight

Gladiators, Chariots, and the Roman Games Two men ready their weapons. An excited crowd of Romans cheer loudly in anticipation.

  1. As spectacular as is Ridley Scott's Gladiator 2000 , Commodus, of course, did not allow himself to be killed in the arena but just as melodramatically was strangled in his bath on New Year's Eve. Their accounts of those days are more chilling than anything to be seen on the screen.
  2. Fact and Legend The Roman arenas weren't used only for gladiatorial combats and chariot races. In one type of race, riders began the competition on horseback but later dismounted and ran on foot to the finish.
  3. Wore a fish-like helmet and had an oblong shield and a sword.
  4. When Pompey presented elephants and the first rhinoceros at the Circus Maximus, he did so in part to demonstrate his power over even the strongest of beasts. A marble relief dating to around the 2nd century A.

Both combatants realize full well that this day might be their last. They are gladiators, men who fight to the death for the enjoyment of others. As the two gladiators circle each other, each knows that his objective is to maim or trap his opponent rather than to kill him quickly. What's more, the fight must last long enough to please the crowd.

The gladiators jab swords and swing maces. They sweat in the hot sun. Sand and dirt fly.

List of Roman gladiator types

Suddenly, one gladiator traps the other with a net and poises to kill him with a three-pronged trident. The victor waits for a sign from the crowd.

If the losing gladiator has put up a good fight, the crowd might choose to spare his life — and the vanquished gladiator will live to fight another day. But if the crowd is dissatisfied with the losing fighter — as was usually the case — its dissatisfaction meant slaughter. Let the Games Begin Before fighting, gladiators had to swear the following oath: The Romans continued the practice, holding games roughly 10 to 12 times in an average year.

The emperor hoped to distract the poor from their poverty in the hopes that they would not revolt. Over time, the games became more spectacular and elaborate as emperors felt compelled to outdo the previous year's competitons.

The games involved more participants, occurred more frequently, and became more expensive and more outlandish. The Coliseum In Rome, the gladiatorial contests were held in the Coliseum, a huge stadium that first opened in 80 C.

Located in the middle of the city, the Coliseum was circular in shape with three levels of arches around the outside.

In height, the Coliseum was as tall as a modern 12-story building; it held 50,000 spectators. Like many modern professional sports stadiums, the Coliseum had box seats for the wealthy and powerful. The upper level was reserved for the commoners. Under the floor of the Coliseum was a labyrinth of rooms, hallways, and cages where weapons were stored and animals and gladiators waited for their turn to perform.

The Coliseum was also watertight and could be flooded to hold naval battles. Special drains allowed water to be pumped in and released. But, naval battles were rarely held there because the water caused serious damage to the basic structure of the Coliseum. The Coliseum wasn't the only amphitheater in ancient Rome; there were several scattered throughout the entire empire.

  • The bows were able to produce a draw weight of nearly 160 lb 72;
  • Occasionally, the gladiators were able to fight for their freedom.

The amphitheater pictured above is in Tunisia, Africa. The gladiators themselves were usually slaves, criminals, or prisoners of war. Occasionally, the gladiators were able to fight for their freedom.

Criminals who were sentenced to death were sometimes thrown into the arena unarmed to serve their sentence. Some people, including women, actually volunteered to be gladiators. They were willing to risk death for the possibility of fame and glory.

  1. On rare occasions, the animals were allowed to maul and eat a live human who was tied to a stake.
  2. They were organized into different classes and types.
  3. Roman Gladiators The word 'gladiator comes from the Latin word for sword, gladius, so it literally means a swordsman. Most only lived to their mid-20s, and historians have estimated that somewhere between one in five or one in 10 bouts left one of its participants dead.
  4. The most famous circus, which was in Rome, was the Circus Maximus.

Many gladiators went to special schools that trained them how to fight. A few gladiators boxed. They used metal gloves to increase cutting and bleeding.

The Roman Gladiator

Some gladiatorial contests included animals such as bears, rhinos, tigers, elephants, and giraffes. Most often, hungry animals fought other hungry animals. But sometimes hungry animals fought against gladiators in contests called venationes "wild beast hunts". On rare occasions, the animals were allowed to maul and eat a live human who was tied to a stake. This relief sculpture from the 2nd century C. The competitors completed seven intense laps in front of a crowd of 300,000.

Bread and Circuses Romans loved chariot races, which were held on special racetracks called circuses. The most famous circus, which was in Rome, was the Circus Maximus. In chariot races, two- or four-horse chariots ran seven laps totaling anywhere from three to five miles. Roman games included other type of equestrian events. Some races with the history and weapons used in a gladiator fight and riders resemble today's thoroughbred horseracing. In one type of race, riders began the competition on horseback but later dismounted and ran on foot to the finish.

As the Roman Empire started its decline, the author Juvenal 55-127 C. Eventually, they grew into the huge events that most people think of when they hear the word "gladiator. The Romans also enjoyed chariot races, naval battles, wild animal hunts, and theatrical events.

This webpage also describes those activites, the public executions that took place in the arenas, and some of the disasters that struck during the games. Gladiatorial Games A gladiator's a gladiator, right? A gladiator could specialize as a thracian, secutor, retiarius, or bestiarius; each category of gladiator had its own unique armor, weapons, and fighting style. This webpage, done by a college professor, points out the differences among the different types of gladiators and describes their weapons and armor in great detail.

Be sure to click on the underlined words and phrases in the text for extra images.

  • The ancient term for the javelin was verutum;
  • Provocatores have been shown wearing a loincloth, a belt, a long greave on the left leg, a manica on the lower right arm, and a visored helmet without brim or crest, but with a feather on each side;
  • Throwing Christians to the Lions;
  • An excited crowd of Romans cheer loudly in anticipation;
  • He was equipped with a gladius and a very small, round shield.

Throwing Christians to the Lions: Fact and Legend The Roman arenas weren't used only for gladiatorial combats and chariot races. Sometimes, people sentenced to an agonizing public death were thrown into the amphitheater to be killed by wild animals. Christians were often the victims of this terrible fate.

  • The polytheistic Romans had a hard time understanding the monotheistic nature of Christianity, and often persecuted the followers of the Christian faith;
  • They love whom they lower; they despise whom they approve; the art they glorify, the artist they disgrace" De Spectaculus, XXII;
  • Occasionally, the gladiators were able to fight for their freedom;
  • Free men also volunteered to be gladiators auctorati and, by the end of the Republic, comprised half the number who fought;
  • Natural History 1945 translated by H.

The polytheistic Romans had a hard time understanding the monotheistic nature of Christianity, and often persecuted the followers of the Christian faith. Read more about the history of Christian persecution from the time of Nero in 64 C.