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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
Be the Gladiator - Rare fully intact Roman bronze gladiator helmet featuring the hero Hercules on the front and the defeated Nemeian Lion on the base of the comb. Before 1st C. AD. Higgins Armory Museum, Worcester, Massachusetts.
The Borghese Gladiator is a Hellenistic lifesize marble sculpture actually portraying a swordsman, created at Ephesus about 100 BC.