What Are the Gory Facts About Gladiators?

The First Gladiators 1 of 11

The ancient Romans entertained themselves and hoped to appease their gods through deadly gladiatorial combat in the arena. Learn more about this historic bloody sport!

The very first gladiators were merely slaves who were chosen to fight as entertainment at a funeral ritual in 264 BC. These three pairs of slaves fought to the death in order to provide human sacrifices for the "munus" ritual. This practice became popular and eventually led to the birth of the gladiatorial games in the first century AD.