The Roman gladiators received training at special schools known as Ludi. There were a large number of such schools established across the Roman Empire. Rome itself had four famous gladiator schools. The largest and the most popular among all was the Ludus Magnus that was linked to the infamous Roman Colosseum through an underground tunnel.
Another popular training center was located at Capua. This gladiatorial school became famous in 73 BC, when the Roman gladiator, Spartacus, sparked a slave rebellion in the area against the might of the Roman Empire.
In the Ludi, the gladiators received training like professional athletes and were taught to use different combat techniques and weapons, such as lasso, war chain, trident, net, and daggers, to defeat their opponent. They were allowed to fight with the equipments and weapons of their own choice and were required to fight 2-3 times a year. Gladiators also received three full meals and proper medical attention during the training period. However, condemned criminals who were sentenced to death for a capital crime received no such training at the ludus.
Gladiators were trained to play the role of Roman enemies during the games. They wore an armor that was different from the Roman military and used non-Roman weaponry for the combats. The various roles that they played included that of a Thracian, a Secutor, a Retiarius, and a Samnite. They were paid handsome sums of money every time they survived a gladiatorial combat. They were awarded their freedom if they managed to survive 3 to 5 years of deadly combats. The one was defeated in the arena begged for life or death, while the winner received awards, like a golden bowl, a golden crown, or a gold coin with a palm leaf, symbolizing victory.
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