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Notes for I-search Latswordsmen in ancient Rome class of professional fighters who performed for exhibition Gladiatorial combats usually took place in amphitheaters They probably were introduced from Etruria and originally were funeral games The gladiators were paired off to fight each other usually to the number of about 100 couples although in the imperial shows there were sometimes as many as 5000 pairs There were various types of gladiators armed and armored differently Thus a heavily armored man a Mirmillo or Samnite might be opposed to a Retiarius who fought almost naked with a net and a trident as his only weapons He also might be pitted against a Thracian who fought with a dagger and a small round shield Often gladiators were made to fight wild beasts A defeated gladiator was usually killed by the victor unless the people expressed their desire that he be spared At first gladiators were invariably slaves or prisoners including Christians They normally underwent rigid training and some gained immense popularity Later impoverished freedmen also sought a living as gladiators and finally even members of the ruling classes took part in gladiatorial combats on an amateur basis Constantine I forbade gladiatorial games but they nonetheless continued until AD 405 Some gladiators led by Spartacus took part in the third of the Servile Wars 73 BC-71 BC Gladiators The Gladiators were professional fighters who fought until death in the amphitheaters of Ancient Rome The gladiatorial fights originated in central Italy probably as a funeral sacrifice The first gladiatorial games in Rome were held in 264 BC when three pairs of gladiators fought as part of a funeral celebration By 174 BC 37 pairs participated at a 3-day event The Roman Senate limited the number of contestants after Julius Caesar held an event with 300 pairs of gladiators The emperor Domitian in AD 90 presented combats between women and dwarfs The emperor Trajan held the largest contest of gladiators
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