The Gladiators in general were either condemned criminals, prisoners of war, slaves brought for the purpose of the games and people who volunteered on their own will. The gladiatorial games reached their peak between the 1st century BCE and the 2nd century CE.
Men who committed a capital crime were sent to the gladiatorial arena without a weapon defending themselves with their bare hands. The men who did not commit a capital crime were sent to training schools called Ludi. The earliest training schools were in Campania. At these schools they did not teach them to kill people but instead taught them to disable and capture their opponent. Criminals who trained in the schools were allowed to pick their own weapon and defence. If they survived a couple of years without dying they would receive freedom. The gladiators had to do what their owners (Lanista) told them to do otherwise they would be punished either by no food or beaten up. The gladiators were given adequate food supplies eating 3-4 times a day and received medical care. The Roman militaries success in war meant a big haul in of prisoners of war for the use in the gladiatorial games. Men who entered the games by free will had to take an oath in which they had to agree to the consequences of the game. This oath was: Being branded. Being chained. Being killed by an iron weapon. To pay for their food and drink they received with their blood and to suffer things even if they did not wish to. In the morning season of the games the Bestiarii or combatants who were taught to fight against animals were sent into the ring to fend for their lives against animals such as lions, tigers and bulls. Thousands of animals were slaughtered due to this proceeding. After these battles, unlucky men who had committed capital crimes were executed in front of the whole crowd by a sword. The winner of the gladiator battles received a palm branch form the editor. If he was outstanding he may even receive a laurel crown and...
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