Table of Contents
Roots of Gladiators
The early gladiators were criminals sentenced to death for their crimes. These people were taken to the arena or the theater for their first fight without any training. The prisoner who survived the first fight in the arena was taken to the gladiator school and trained.
Contrary to common belief, according to the new researches, gladiators were not only made up of the rebellious slaves but of distinguished and ‘pampered’ stars too. Thanks to their sponsors, they earned so much that Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius had to set a cap on the salary of the gladiators.
Life of a Gladiator. Then and Today
Nobody wanted to hurt this money-making show business, and instead of dying and murdering the gladiators, gladiator owners \ sponsors used them in the Arena to entertain the crowds. According to the recent findings in Ephesus, gladiators were more like show wrestlers such as the ones in WWE today. Gladiators of Ephesus had their magical good omens which were known as Ephesia Grammata.
Gladiators of the ancient world were taken to the Arena to ‘show’ their martial arts skills. There were some famous gladiators, like today’s heavyweight boxers, only fight for two or three fights a year.
The goal in the Arena was not to kill the opponent, but to ‘win without injuring’ as one Roman poet said. Those who died in the Arena were prisoners and criminals who were taken to be executed, and prisoners captured in war and conflict
Facts About Gladiators of Asia Minor
According to findings gladiators had access to the most advanced medical facilities of that period. As a result of the examination of 2,000-year-old bones, it is known that gladiators were fed on very high-value foods and have durable layers of fat just under their skin that protect their muscles and reduce the effect of cuts.
Research made on gladiator bones which were found in the gladiators’ graveyard inside the ancient city of Ephesus revealed that Roman gladiators consumed almost no meat, contrary to what is believed before. Tests revealed that Ephesian gladiators can be nearly regarded as vegetarians. Wheat, barley and oats, as well as vegetables and dried fruits were their main diet.
Hire Tour Guide to Learn More About Gladiators
Gladiator and their impact on our culture today have always been a major subject in my tours. I consider myself lucky since I can lead tours visiting Ephesus, Aphrodisias and Magnesia since these places hosted gladiator shows. Contact me to learn more about gladiators of the ancient world and to hire a professional licensed tour guide in Turkey. See you soon, Hasan Güdlay.