Fun facts about the Roman Gladiators

Fun facts about the Roman Gladiators

You will have probably heard about the Roman Gladiators, but how much do you know about them and their history?

We’ve put together some fun facts about the Roman Gladiators. Test yourself – how many did you know?

Gladiators were professional fighters.

Gladiators lived in ancient times. The name in Latin translates as ‘swordsman’. They were professional fighters. Their role existed for some 700 years or more and they date as far back as the end of the first century BC.

Gladiators were proud. However their reason for being a Gladiator was sometimes very sad.

Gladiators were very proud, with a reputation to match. However, sometimes they found themselves in this role because they had become slaves, criminals or prisoners, and such a status meant they could be forced to become a professional fighter or Gladiator by their owners.

However, as Gladiators reputations grew, some chose to be a Gladiator.

As the reputation of Gladiators grew through time, some people actually signed up to be Gladiators! It’s perhaps not surprising when you consider today’s celebrity trends and the thirst some have to be famous. Successful Gladiators were very popular with the pubic. Some were considered sex symbols of their time!


The Colosseum is one of Rome’s most recognisable structures, and venue of the infamous Gladiatorial battles.

It wasn’t always an all male sport.

For a period of time, there were female Gladiators – although they always fought other women or dwarves. However this was outlawed around 200AD.

Gladiators were highly trained warriors.

Regardless of how they became a Gladiator, they were all highly trained. Their lives depended on their training, strength, abilities and overall health. They were often housed in barrack style accommodation with other Gladiators.

Sometimes this meant they were roommates with their competitors.

It is highly possible that since Gladiators all lived together, they sometimes knew the Gladiators they were fighting against. They were organised into different groups according to their fighting style – on whether they used a sword or whether they rode into the arena on a horse.

They were expensive to look after.

People who were invariably quite rich owned gladiators, and they needed to be when you consider how costly it was to look after a Gladiator. Barrack accommodation, good food, best medical attention all mounted up. For that reason, owners did not want them to be killed. Some believe Gladiators were trained to wound not to kill.


The inside of the Colosseum. Even today, you can imagine the tension and drama of ‘performing’ on a stage like this.

However, the lives of a Gladiator were short.

Given the risks of their occupation, many still only survived until their late 20s.

Gladiator battles were used as an early form of PR.

Gladiator battles were used to distract the population from negative issues. They were also put on to mark a victory at war or a celebration of some sort.


What a Gladiator might have looked like in battle. Gladiator games officially came to an end under Constantine – the first Christian emperor.

The most famous Gladiators.

The famous Gladiators of all time was Spartacus – a soldier who was captured and sold as a slave. He escaped and led an uprising of Gladiators and slaves, which he grew into an army in its own right. Pursued by the Roman armies, he defeated them on several occasions before his capture.

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