Top 10 Interesting Facts About Roman Gladiators


Gladiators didn’t always fight to the death: Aside from prisoners and criminals who were sentenced to death and forced to fight as gladiators, most gladiators didn't fight to the death.





Gladiators weren’t always enslaved:  Some former soldiers in debt would also join in hopes of paying their debt and making money for the future.





Women also fought as gladiators:  These women were pitted against one another as well as male gladiators and even against animals or dwarfs, the latter being more of a comedy act.





Gladiatorial bouts were originally part of funeral ceremonies: During the funeral of a wealthy Roman, slaves and prisoners of war had to fight.




Gladiators often became celebrities and sex symbols: Gladiator sweat on the other hand was mixed into perfume and was believed to be an aphrodisiac.





Gladiators could win their freedom: A gladiator who won several fights, served an indefinite period of time or payed for it were offered their freedom.




Gladiators occasionally fought in staged naval battles: The bottom of the ships were made flat to ensure they wouldn't get stuck as the water was only around 5ft deep.





Some gladiators formed trade unions: . They would also make sure their deceased comrade would receive a proper burial.






Gladiators were divided in different classes and types:  They were armed with a long rectangular shield (scutum), a plumed helmet, a short sword, and probably a greave on his left leg.






Gladiators fighting against animals was rare: Tangling with wild beasts was reserved for the "venatores" and "bestiarii," special classes of warrior who squared off against everything from deer.