Gladitor Games were fought to entertain politicians, emperors, and other men of high rank. "Gladiators" were named after the Roman sword, called the "gladius." Like chariot racing, Gladiator Games started out as funeral games. The first Gladiator Game ever fought to the death was during the funeral ceremony of Junius Brutus, in the year of 264 B.C.E. The Gladiators were mostly men who were condemned criminals, prisoners of war, or slaves. People believe that there is just one type of Gladiator, but there are actually five different types of Gladiators.

  • "Thracians" are men armed with helmets and shin protectors.

  • "Murmillos" are men armed with visored helmets, a shield, and long shin protectors.

  • "Secutors" are men armed with egg-shaped helmets and short shin protectors.

  • "Retiariuses" are men armed with shoulder protectors and daggers.

  • "Bestiariuses" are men armed with whips, spears, and ornate, leather covered garments.

Gladiators fighting to the death
Gladiators fighting to the death

Gladiators didn't fight for land, wealth, or treasure. Gladiators fought each other merely to entertain the masses. The men who fought in the Gladiator games fought to the death. They faced two fates: kill or be killed. Some men volunteered to be gladiators to win a large amount of prize money. In some fights, men fought lions or exotic cats. In man versus animal fights, the gladiator could only be armed with a large, long, pointy-tipped spear.

Two Gladiators fighting a tiger

Gladiators practiced fighting for years just to have one day in the arena. Gladiator fights were fought in the Colluseum. The gladiators' armor was ornately decorated with elaborate designs. Most men who fought in the Gladiator Games were not well known before their first fight in the arena. The winners of the Gladiator fights had their faces painted as murals. In 367 B.C., Emperor Honorius was furious with the Gladiator Games, so he closed down all schools that taught the Gladiators how to fight. His new law turned out not to be successful because fights still continued in the arenas, such as the Colluseum.

Victorious Gladiator
Victorious Gladiator


If you have read all of this, you must have learned information about the Gladiators in the Gladiator Games. How about testing your memory with a few questions?

  • How many types of Gladiators are there?

  • Where were the Gladiator Games fought?

  • What year were the Gladiator schools closed?

  • Who was the emperor who closed the schools for Gladiators?

  • What year did the first Gladiators appear?


Hanel, Rachael, Gladiators, Mankato, Creative Education, 2008.

McManus, Barbara, ARENA: Glatorial Games, [[,5/11/11|,5/11/11]],