Gladiators that passed the test of time

Gladiators were Rome’s answer to celebrities or sportspeople, fighting tirelessly in the coliseum as entertainment for the Roman people. However, as opposed to celebrities of the modern world, these gladiators would not always return from their jobs alive and there are a few who would go on to be the timeless names and famous faces cataloged in the history books of Europe. In this article, we will take a look at some of the greatest Gladiators that passed the test of time, shining a light on their achievements and ability to pass the ultimate life-threatening test and quest for Roman immortalization. 

Gladiators that passed the test of time


You may have seen the hit television show Spartacus, offering a brief glimpse into the life and times of the famous Gladiator. Spartacus is a Gladiator of tremendous might, boasting a life story of great slave triumph against perilous rulers. In Spartacus’ story, he would go on to lead a group of slaves to rebel against the Roman capital in as early as 73 BCE. Spartacus was an enormous man, comparable to the heavyweight boxers of today, and he was a natural leader beyond his successes within the arena. Being a mastermind tactician, Spartacus was a powerful asset for Rome, but little did the Roman rulers know he would betray them and be a fighting symbol for the slaves. Amassing a monstrous army, Spartacus was able to free thousands of people, which the Roman rulers did not take lightly. As fate would have it, the Roman empire would go on to employ the services of another military leader, Crassus, who would build an army strong enough to defeat Spartacus. 


Commodus had a flair for the dramatics, often paying off combatants to lose fights. In doing so, he became popular among the people as he was an incredibly victorious fighter, albeit cunning and sly behind the scenes. He was a showman and an actor, flashy and daring, drawing the attention of people with his charm and wit. Commodus was even the emperor of Rome who many assume was responsible for putting an end to the Pax Romana (Roman peace), something rare for a Gladiator who was usually a slave or poor man. Commodus’ downfall would be his hubris and massive ego, driving him to make preposterous claims such as that he possessed the power of the gods. Commodus staged almost all of his fights, making him a famous Gladiator who passed the test of time, albeit for all the wrong reasons. He would eventually meet his end in 192 CE when he was assassinated by Roman legionnaires.

Gladiators that passed the test of time


The story of Spiculus and his handler Nero is one wrought with drama. Nero was a powerful Roman emperor who adored Spiculus for his brute strength and incredible abilities within the ring. Spiculus was a Gladiator who did not participate in any staged fights but rather used his raw talent to emerge from the arena victorious without a scripted show, and Nero absolutely loved that about him. Spiculus was so cherished by the Roman emperor that he was treated to extravagant palaces and riches. When Nero was overthrown, he even requested that Spiculus be his executioner, a request that would never be fulfilled as he eventually ended his own life when Spiculus did not arrive in time. 


These are but a few of the brave and brilliant fighters who would pass the test of time and leave an indelible legacy in the history books as being Rome’s greatest Gladiators!

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