Life of a GladiatorBy Ryan Coulter Have you ever heard of Spartacus or Commodus? They are two of the most famous roman gladiators of all time. Throughout the reign of the Roman Empire the gladiatorial games were held, the first stage in the life of a gladiator was becoming a new recruit. After going through the process of being a new recruit gladiators were sent to gladiator schools. Finally, gladiators would put their skills to the test and fight in the arena.The gladiatorial games played a major role in the success of the Roman Empire, and without these gladiators it is possible Rome would have fallen much earlier in its rule. The first stage in a gladiator’s life was becoming a new recruit. Most gladiators were slaves and prisoners of war. However, some gladiators were free gladiators, which meant that they chose to be gladiators of their own free will. Many new gladiators had been sentenced “Damnati ad Gladium” meaning condemned to death by execution by sword or to fight until dead as a gladiator. Upon becoming a new recruit gladiators would be checked by doctors who would check their physical condition and decide what kind of gladiator they would become. New gladiators were then sent to gladiator schools where they would be trained to fight as a gladiator. The second stage in a gladiator’s life was going to gladiator school. In the gladiator school gladiators would learn to fight as their assigned variation of a gladiator. Though there are many different types of gladiators the mains ones were Bestarii, or beast fighters, Retiarii, or net fighters, and Secutores, or cutters. Gladiator schools had very strict discipline, gladiators were escorted in shackles to and from meals. The only time gladiators were not in shackles was during training. Gladiators also followed a very strict diet consisting of meat, fish, bread, cereals, vegetables, barley, dry fruits, cheese, goat milk, eggs, and olive oil. Gladiators were also only allowed to drink either goat milk or water. Once a gladiator was deemed ready he would be matched up against an opponent and put in the arena. The final stage of a gladiator’s life was fighting to the death in the arena. There were many different events held in gladiator arenas such as chariot races, beast fights, duels, wars between two teams of gladiators, and there were even some naval battles. When fighting gladiators were expected to fight and die with dignity, honor, and without complaint. Fighting like this could even save you life when you were a gladiator. If the crowd was pleased with the losers performance their life would be spared, but if the crowd was not pleased the loser would be slaughtered by the victor. To insure that gladiators followed these standards they had to swear the oath “Sacramentum gladiatorum”and agree to the legal agreement “Auctoramentum”. Whether or not gladiators survived another day depended entirely on their performance in the arena. A large amount of the success of the Roman Empire rested on the gladiatorial games and whether or not they satisfied the public.It was a long and grueling process creating gladiators because they went through three major stages to become a well taught gladiator. First was becoming a new recruit,and later going to gladiator school. Finally they fought their first and possibly their last match in the arena. The night before the games a feast was held for competing gladiators. This feast was called the last meal because for some it just might be.