(753 BCE - 476)
Madrid. Museo Arqueologico Nacional.
Gladiatorial as well as animal combats were held here, and it was designed so that it could even be flooded in order to provide the necessary water for the popular mock sea battles. Titus endeared himself to the populace by providing 100 days of continuous fighting and slaughter when he inaugurated the Coliseum.
Gladiators were often slaves who were trained in special schools to fight, and then taken around the country by handlers to participate in games throughout the Empire. This 19th century painting demonstrates a gladiator looking to the spectators to determine if they will give the thumbs up sign which told him to let his vanquished rival live, or the thumbs down sign, which was a signal to kill.
During the Late Republic, Spartacus, one of the Roman gladiators , led a slave revolt. Spartacus and his comrades succeeded in dominating most of southern Italy. However, in 72 BCE Pompey returned from Spain and ended the revolt , crucifying some 6000 captured slaves.
ROMAN | Iberian mosaic. Gladiators. | 4 c | Roman |
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