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Organization at games

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Animals on a Roman mosaic
Animals on a Roman mosaic

The organization of gladiatorial fights has become a great task in which intermediaries and entrepreneurs of all specialties were involved.

Lanistae – these were the touts recruiting impoverished sons of ruined families, slaves and all kinds of poor people to the gladiator school – ludus gladiatorius. They were compared to lenones – panders and they had poor opine. Enslaved men renounced all their rights – auctoritas and became in practice slaves subjected to murderous training on the basis of a contract – auctoratum. Winners were guaranteed with the money, but the consent of the other party was required, that the gladiators could be “burned, crammed, beaten, or killed”, while being subjected to training and exercises. Gladiators went to the “family” – the so-called familia gladiatoria – it was a team of slaves at their own expense who were supposed to fight for the owner.

Later, in Rome, lanistae disappeared, because the emperor had a monopoly on gladiators’ struggles. In contrast to what mass culture shows, gladiators were given some freedom. They could, as Knapp says, easily enter and leave the barracks. Carcopino, however, claims that their living conditions were far from expected. One thing is for sure, the gladiators were well-nourished, although their diet might seem monotonous.

  • Jerome Carcopino, Widowiska, p. 227
  • Robert Knapp, Invisible Romans, p. 265-289

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