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 Museum Explorer

Daily life in
Roman Britain


Height: 9.000 cm

P&EE 1888 7-19 97


Date: 1st-2nd century AD
From: Roman Britain

This bronze gladiator has his helmet visor down ready to fight. Gladiators fought for their lives in large arenas, either against each other, or with wild animals. Most gladiators were slaves, prisoners or criminals, but they did take some volunteers too.

The fights probably began as religious events, but they quickly became a popular blood sport which Romans watched for fun. Wealthy Romans became more popular if they paid for gladiatorial contests, rather like companies who sponsor sporting events today.