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During my recent travels through Rome I decided to take in some of the Roman entertainment I figured a gladiatorial show was the perfect place to do this since public slaughter is an important part of Roman culture I heard about these gruesome shows the people put on in the Colosseum which was originally Flavian Amphitheater I had ideas about gladiators and the shows they put on but I never ever imagined the details of that life After talking to some of the locals I was able to broaden my perspective on these games In Latin the name swordsman does not do justice to the life of that professional combatant The first gladiators were part of a sacrificial rite adopted from the Etruscans First introduced to Rome in 264 BCE the sons of Junius Brutus honored their father at his funeral by matching three pairs of gladiators Gladiatorial combat was originally part of a religious ceremony that was intended to insure that the dead would be accompanied to the next world by armed attendants and that the spirits of the dead would be appeased with Traditionally this ritual was performed to honor important men However as the years passed the ritual lost much of its religious significance and this sport became more popular This class of public entertainment has passed from being a compliment to the dead to being a compliment to the living Gladiators are generally condemned criminals prisoners of war or slaves bought for this purpose Some free men and even women volunteer to enter this profession in hopes of popularity and patronage by wealthy citizens The free men are often social outcasts freed slaves or discharged soldiers Gladiators are trained in combat at special imperial schools The gladiator by his oath transforms what had originally been an involuntary act to a voluntary one and so at the very moment that he becomes a slave condemned to death he becomes a free agent
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