Superfit, muscled, and macho, gladiators were hero-worshipped for their skills and courage as they fought to the death, yet despised for their humble status. For over six cruel centuries, tens of thousands died in the blood soaked arenas of Rome and its colonies, watched by enthralled crowds screaming for violence. Professor Fik Meijer has ingeniously pieced together their true stories from contemporary evidence, describing the gladiators' origins, daily life, training, and the odds of their survival pitted against their legions of fans' lust for blood and spectacle.
FIK MEIJER is a Professor of Ancient History at the University of Amsterdam and is the author of Emperors Don't Die in Bed. His next book will be a study of Rome's charioteers.