A powerful survey . . . offering the newest research on gladiators to revise the standard perception of their combat, equipment, and lives and social status.” Bookwatch
The richest knowledge of the history of this most interesting phenomenonthe history of the Roman arena where, in blood and gold, magnificent performances developed, which devoured enormous sums of money and took away the lives of thousands of human beings and animals. The book is based on a huge amount of ancient resources, as well as the newest findings and research.” Michael Gorelik, author of The Warriors of Eurasia
From the Back Cover
From the author of Ancient and Medieval Siege Weapons comes this eye-opening new look at the most popular spectacle of ancient Rome. Gladiatorial games first served as a solemn funeral rite to honor noble citizens. At the height of their eight-century reign of popularity, the games formed the centerpiece of a massive entertainment industry run by cunning entrepreneurs and regulated carefully by the government. Professional gladiators were highly trained, and their ranks even included women for a time. Slaves who became gladiators could earn their freedom in as few as four wins. A gladiator’s career lasted about four years—with an average lifespan of just eighteen to twenty-five years—but some champions survived up to 150 combats. In return for long-term contracts, they earned huge annual salaries. They were the boxers or football players of their day.
This richly illustrated, fascinating guide provides a complete, breathtaking tour of gladiator customs and covers every aspect of the gladiator phenomenon, from the types of equipment the different classes of gladiator used to the unique place in society occupied by these fighters prepared to die.