Who were the Gladiators?

GLADIATOR fights were probably religious in origin, first held at funerals to honor the deceased. But by the time of the emperors, they had become simply a blood sport which almost everyone enjoyed; there were only a few protesting voices. Most gladiators were slaves or criminals and were trained in special schools. If they were lucky they survived to win their freedom. Many thought the gladiator's way of life was glamorous. Some men ever volunteer to be gladiators, and the emperor Commodus shocked Rome by fighting in the arena himself. But for many of these trained murderers life was brutal and short. There were various types of gladiators, each with distinct weapons.

Some types of Gladiators

Information from:

Eyewitness: Ancient Rome
Buy it!