The thunderous cheering of the crowd suffocated the scream of the dying man as he fell heavily to the sand. Staring at the sky he blinked in shock, pressed his hands on the injured ribs as if trying to contain the stream of blood that came out of them. The blood felt hot on his hands and fingers and although it was not a new sensation to him he felt as if it was the first time he had sensed it. The pain became more intensive and he realized what had happened. His lips twisted in a smile and blood poured from his mouth and ran down his neck. I’m free he murmured so low that he couldn’t even hear it.
For more than 650 years, people flocked to arenas across the empire to watch these armed and highly trained warriors engage in a blood-soaked spectacle equal parts sports
Not all gladiators were brought to the arena in chains. While most early combatants were conquered peoples and slaves who had committed crimes