Gladiators were Roman fighters who fought in arenas for the amusement of the public. The first gladiatorial battles arose from the funerary customs of the Etruscans. These customs also personified sacrifice. Gradually, this rite changed. Those sentenced to death became fighters in the arenas and amused the audience. The strongest of the fighters was given life, and maybe freedom.
The first gladiatorial battles were organized in Rome in 264 BC. These battles excited the public so much that they were even included in the annals of Rome. The first was the emperor Nero, who authorized the organization of gladiatorial tournaments. Even free women could participate in these tournaments. For the first time in 66, the emperor staged gladiatorial battles in the city of Puteoli, in honor of the Armenian king Tiridates. These battles lasted until AD 400. e., and when the Roman Empire adopted Christianity, fighting was prohibited.
Usually all gladiator fighters were slaves. The slave owners chose the strongest and strongest for these gladiatorial tournaments. They received medical attention, trained and treated them with care. For the Romans, these days were festive.
During the battles, at the first stage, lions or tigers were released, with which those gladiators who were sentenced to death fought. If they won, then they were given life. In the event that, during the battle, the wounded gladiator begged for mercy, the public voted whether he should live or not. If the audience did not spare, then they lowered their thumb, and if they decided to spare, they waved with white handkerchiefs. It is interesting to note that Emperor Commodus was very fond of these battles and sometimes participated in them himself, although, of course, he always won. It was a matter of honor for aristocrats to have gladiator slaves. Even the great Julius Caesar kept about 2, 000 gladiators, not for fighting, but for his protection.
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