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Eyewitness Travel Family Guide Rome by DK Publishing

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< Introducing Rome

Life of a Gladiator

Family Guide
Actors dressed as gladiators and a Roman senator, Colosseum
Blood sports, organized in arenas such as the Colosseum and Circus Maximus, were the most popular form of entertainment in ancient Rome. The spectacles would often begin with “comic” fights between obese women, dwarfs, clowns and cripples. Then, with a blast of trumpets, the true gladiators would appear, and sword fights would begin, with the crowd screaming for the gladiator on whom they had placed their bets.

Who were gladiators?

Gladiators were usually slaves, war captives or condemned criminals. They were sentenced to “damnati ad gladium” ...

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