Roman Gladiators

A gladiator was a professional fighter who specialised with particular weapons and fought before the public in large purpose-built arenas throughout the Roman Empire from 105 BCE to 404 CE (official contests). As fights were usually to the death, gladiators had a short life expectancy and so, although it was in some respects a glamorous profession, the majority of fighters were slaves, former slaves or condemned prisoners. Without doubt, gladiator spectacles were one of the most watched forms of popular entertainment in the Roman world.

This depicts a bronze helmet from the fighting pits at Pompeii. It is from the 1st century AD. It helps reveal the variety of armor styles used by Roman gladiators.
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