The main training schools for gladiators were in Capua, south of Rome. Some gladiators were volunteers (mostly freedmen or very low classes of freeborn men) who chose to take on the status of a slave for the monetary rewards or the fame and excitement. Anyone who became a gladiator was automatically infamis, beneath the law and by definition not a respectable citizen. A small number of upper-class men competed in the arena but they constituted a special, esoteric form of entertainment
The Borghese Gladiator is a Hellenistic lifesize marble sculpture actually portraying a swordsman, created at Ephesus about 100 BC.
The defeated gladiator The popularity for Romans of gladiatorial games is indicated by the large number of wall paintings and mosaics depicting gladiators. Many household items were decorated with gladiatorial motifs, such as this lamp.