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Craig Yr Hesg Primary School

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Craig Yr Hesg Primary School

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Gods & Gladiators

What's your image of the Ancient Romans?


From fearsome warriors and rulers of land and sea to powerful gods, there's so much to explore within this civilisation and its lasting impacts on our modern world.


The Roman civilisation began in Rome, the capital city of Italy, around 509 BC. Here Romans invented many things we now rely on every day, like roads and books. Much of our language even has its roots in the language of the Ancient Romans. Pretty cool, right? The Romans also created a huge empire across Europe that reached and conquered Britain in 43 AD. At its largest, over 70 million people across the world lived within the Roman Empire.


Whilst advancing civilisation, the Romans also had some violent entertainment pastimes, one of which was gladiator fights. This Roman Gladiators history guide will cover the essentials, from facts to fun activities, to support your child's learning about life in Ancient Rome and this form of Roman entertainment.

Roman Gladiator Facts

  • If a gladiator died in the arena, their trainer could charge the person who sponsored the event up to 100 times the cost of a gladiator who survived.
  • It was not just men that took part in the games: female slaves were gladiators too, until they were banned around 200 AD.
  • Not all gladiators were slaves - some were actually volunteers!
  • Most gladiators only lived until their mid-twenties.
  • If a gladiator was badly hurt or admitted defeat, the crowd watching in the arena could decide what happened to them.
  • Nine thousand animals were killed in one hundred day ceremony to celebrate the opening of the Colosseum.

  • Gladiators were Roman celebrities, some children even played with clay gladiator action figures.
  • It's thought one of the words for sword ('gladius') is the root of the word 'gladiator'.