Gladiators: Fighting to the Death in Ancient Rome [Paperback]

M. C. Bishop (Author)

Regular Price: £7.99

Special Price: £3.95

ISBN: 9781612005133 | Published by: Casemate Publishers | Series: Casemate Short History | Year of Publication: 2017 | Language: English 160p, H198 x W125 (mm) 30 b/w illustrations

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The gladiator is one of the most enduring figures of Ancient Rome. Heroic, though of lowly status, they fought vicious duals in large arenas filled with baying crowds. The survivor could be either executed (the famous ‘thumbs down’ signal) or spared at the whim of the crowd or the Emperor. Few lasted more than a dozen fights, yet they were a valuable asset to their owners.

But how did they fight and how did their weapons and techniques develop? Who were they?

This book gives an entertaining overview of the history of the gladiator, debunking some myths along the way. We learn about the different forms of combat, and the pairings which were designed to carefully balance the strengths and weaknesses of one against the other. The retiarii (with nets) were lightly armed but mobile, the secutores and murmillones protected but weighted down by their armour. Gladiators also participated in simulated naval battles on large artificial lakes or even in the arena of the Colosseum.

Although their lives were brutal and short, gladiators often were admired for their bravery, endurance, and willingness to die. They were the celebrities of their day. This book reveals what we know and how we know it: ancient remains, contemporary literature, graffiti, modern attempts to reconstruct ancient fighting techniques and above all the discovery at Pompeii where a complete gladiator barracks was found alongside multiple skeletons tell their story.

Reviews & Quotes

"I imagine that schools will find these to be useful background primers for a period of history study, and the gladiator volume is well detailed for the wargamer contemplating this particular form of skirmish warfare with its rules and showmanship."
Chris Jarvis
Miniature Wargames - Chris Jarvis

"It’s a treasure trove of information spanning hundreds of years of gladiatorial combat in all its forms...a useful resource, especially for secondary school students, who may find that it ties in with their coursework rather well."
Andy Kay
Army Rumour Service

"Overall, the book is highly recommendable. […] the content is varied with numerous graphics and photos showing arenas, reliefs, mosaics, which add colour and “flavour” to the content […] It is accessible, convenient, and easy to read."
Jakub Jasinski
Imperium Romanum

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