Roman Gladiator Research Article from The Way People Live

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The exact origins of the famous gladiatorial combats in which men and women fought to the death to entertain crowds of spectators are still uncertain and often disputed by scholars. For a long time, the accepted theory was that the Romans adopted these combats, called munera (singular, munus ), from the Etruscans. The Etruscans were a robust, culturally advanced people who inhabited the region directly north of Rome (then known as Etruria, today as Tuscany ). The Etruscan city-states exerted a strong cultural influence over the early Romans, who freely borrowed numerous artistic and social concepts from their more refined neighbors.

According to this view, the Romans were particularly impressed by Etruscan funeral rites, which operated under the belief that, when an important man died, his spirit required a blood sacrifice to survive in the afterlife. Supposedly, the spirits of the dead would not be satisfied until...

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This section contains 4,346 words
(approx. 15 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Roman Gladiator Encyclopedia Article
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Roman Gladiator from The Way People Live. ©2002-2006 by Lucent Books, an imprint of The Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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