Gladiator games were the Roman version of Reality TV for most people. Admission was free unless one wanted the best seats and they went all day long, often for a whole week at a time. Entertainment was not their only function, though, they had a political means behind them.
The games were always funded by politicians looking to be elected to a higher office. A politician looking to get his name out there would convince the wealthy to give money in return for favors. Then he would turn around and use the money to either host a game in his honor or fund some other public function such as the Olympics or repair of the Baths. Same as now, it was usually the man who spent the most money who was elected.
|Animal fight in the arena|
My favorite artist is Jean Leon Gerome. He painted many pictures of the Roman era and specify the games. My favorite piece of his is the one below of Christian's praying before they are to be eaten by lions. If you want to see others of his works, go to this link. Remember that many may be graphic to some eyes.
|The Christian Martyr's Last Prayer|
Next week I will speak on the gladiators themselves.