10 facts you (maybe) don’t know about gladiators (part 2)

Not only men were gladiators. There are proofs stating that there were women who became gladiators too. They were different from men because in most cases they weren’t slaves, strangers or poor citizens as men, but people who were fond of fighting. According to Fik Meijer, teacher of Ancient History at Amsterdam University, some women were so fond of fighting that they took the field on purpose.ellen-hollman-in-spartacus-war-of-the-damned-tv-review-762424

Before the gladiators’ show, wild beasts’ fights and sentences of death were already held. This plan made the audience not so bloodthirsty as we commonly believe. According to historians, Romans attending games in the arena weren’t bloodthirsty or fond of death itself. Generally speaking, they only wanted to watch good fights and gladiators who were brave, skillful and respectful of the ethics’ code.

The audience had a main role during the games, because people lined up alongside one gladiator or another and the games’ promoter had to consider that. Listening to people’s voice had consequences on the politic reputation and represented the power and the consensus achieved.

pollice-verso-18729 VERSO POLLICE (with a turned thumb) OR NOT?
Verso pollice, widely known as a sign of death sentence, could have never existed. A lot of historians believe that grace was stated with the thumb in the fist, meaning a sheathed sword, while the sentence with an upward thumb. The turned thumb is due to the paintings of gladiators’ fights during the XIX century. Most of the fights ended up with a surrender’s request.

Gladiators’ games were at the beginning held among Etruscan people, in order to celebrate a nobleman’s death. Although these activities aimed to celebrate a dead person, on the other hand gladiators rarely died, especially under the Roman Empire, because their training was really expensive.


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