For almost eight hundred years men and women from all levels of Roman society were entertained by battles for life and death in the arena. This study, translated from the Dutch, draws on documentary evidence, as well as works of art and gravestones, to discuss the history of gladiators, looking at their daily lives, their place in society, their cost and earnings, the arenas they fought in, their fights against other gladiators or animals, the Colosseum programme of events, sea battles, the disposal of the dead, the odds against survival and their depiction in Spartacus and Gladiator .
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