Bread and Circus, Gladiators, Ancient Rome - stock photo
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Bread and Circus, Gladiators, Ancient Rome

A gladiator was an armed combatant who entertained audiences in the Roman Republic and Roman Empire in violent confrontations with other gladiators, wild animals, and condemned criminals. Some gladiators were volunteers who risked their legal and social standing and their lives by appearing in the arena. Most were slaves, schooled under harsh conditions, socially marginalized, and segregated even in death. Gladiators offered spectators an example of Rome's martial ethics and, in fighting or dying well, they could inspire admiration and popular acclaim. They were celebrated in high and low art, and their value as entertainers was commemorated in precious and commonplace objects throughout the Roman world. Gladiatorial combat was an essential feature of politics and social life in the Roman world. Its popularity led to its use in ever more lavish and costly games. The games reached their peak between the 1st century BC and the 2nd century AD, and they finally declined during the early 5th century after the adoption of Christianity as state church of the Roman Empire in 380. Image taken from page 322 of Valentine Verses; or, Lines of truth, love, and virtue with plates, lithographed by Richard Cobbold, 1827.

Science Source / British Library

3900 x 2476 pixels

Print Size @ 300 dpi
13 x 8 inches / 33 x 21 cm

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