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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

A little ivory head of gladiator from Pompeii - Naples, Archaeological Museum

10 Famous Gladiators From Ancient Rome by Andrew Fitzgerald Gladiators were the athletic superstars of Ancient Rome. Their battles in the arena drew thousands of fans, often including the most important men of the day. Described below are ten gladiators who all experienced glory and fame—both in and out of the arena—in Ancient Rome.

The usual way losing gladiators left the arena. Not only was this an efficient way to clear the arena for the next match, it also made sure you were sincerely dead (if you weren't already).

Gladiator Graveyard, Ephesus, Turkey The Gladiator Graveyard site is located in Ephesus, Turkey and containes the mixed remains of about 67 individuals, all of whom where under the age of 30. The gladiators who fought here were the professional athletes of ancient Roman times and they would battle each other, wild animals, or even condemned criminals for the amusement of the masses.

Gladiator tombstone The gravestone of Roman gladiator Diodorus, who was buried 1,800 years ago in Turkey.

bronze figurine of gladiator: greaves, small shield, helmet with horns and crest; Roman, first-second century CE London, British Museum. arena, sport, combat

Funerary relief for a gladiator named Seilonis. Museum of Ephesus, Turkey.

Gladiator. When a gladiator fell in the arena, attendants would strike his forehead with a mallet to insure that he was dead.

Scissor This rather odd-looking weapon was used in the arenas by the gladiators of the ancient Roman Empire. Interestingly enough, the gladiators who wielded the scissor in combat were also known as scissors. The metal casing at the bottom formed a long tube that covered the gladiator’s arm, allowing the weapon to easily block and parry, as well as counterattack. Made from hardened steel, the scissor measured up to one and a half feet long.