Book Review: Gladiators
Written by Katherine Frew
reviewed by Joselyn Zuniga, age 13
Rome was not only a place of power and wealth, but also home to a
unique form of entertainment. In Gladiators
Battling in the Arena,
Katherine Frew introduces us to the history of gladiators and their
importance in Roman entertainment.
Latin the word gladiator means “sword bearer.” They were Roman
warriors who fought for their lives every time they entered an arena.
The Colosseum, Ancient Rome's biggest and most famous arena, still
exists today. During the venatio games gladiators were pitted against
deadly animals like lions and bears. In some games, as many as nine
thousand animals were killed.
this sport tended to be incredible violent anyone could participate.
Even women were allowed to battle. Free citizens sometimes
volunteered, but most participants were criminals, prisoners of war,
or slaves who wanted to obtain their freedom.
order for a gladiator to perform in a fight, he had to train at his
best. The training took place in a school called a ludi.
lanista, or owner of a gladiator troupe, would rent the gladiator
from whomever was in charge of the circus' entertainers. The goal of
training was not only based on fighting well, but also killing
opponents quickly and efficiently.
were three many types of gladiators. The two I found most interesting
were the hoplomachus and the essedarri. The hoplomachus were well
protected with a helmet, a round shield and a complete suit of armor.
The essedarri had a unique way of fighting. They fought from
chariots, a very ancient Britannic way of fighting.
are many factors that led to the end of this Roman sport. Over time
the circuses became too costly to run, and the death toll was too
high. The rise of Christianity religion influenced emperors to end
the games. Finally in 405, Emperor Honorious outlawed gladiator
fights for good.
would strongly recommend this book to any middle schooler who enjoys
learning about history, I recommend it because it gives you the
chance to dig deep to the beginning of sports!