Gladiators were among the greatest warriors of the ancient world. These individuals were captured slaves or Roman volunteers that went out to do battle for fame, glory, payment and in some cases for their freedom.
The gladiators of ancient Rome were also a hearty bunch who had colorful fighting styles and outlandish personalities to match. Some of these guys were also serious. Here is a look at 10 of the best gladiators that has ever stepped into an arena to appease the emperor and to entertain the masses.
List of Top 10 Gladiators of Ancient Rome
Tetraites was a hardcore and popular gladiator who fought with the murmillones style of combat. He fought with a sword and his shield. He never wore a breast plate and he sported a helmet. Tetraites was a dominant Roman gladiator during his time. Since he fought with the murmillones method of gladiator combat he was probably from Thrace or Gaul. He had made a big name for himself during his time in the arena. During Tetraites day there was another champion gladiator combatant known as Prudes.
Apparently, Tetraites defeated this warrior in a long awaited match. Once this happened Tetraites fame sky rocketed. He became one of the greatest gladiators in the history of Rome. Historians discovered these facts about Tetraites from ancient vessels that depicted his life.
Spiculus lived during the time of Nero. This gladiator champion was so well liked during his day that Emperor Nero gave him riches, wealth and his freedom for his great exploits. As a matter of fact, Spiculus was so well-liked by Nero that the emperor wanted to die by his hand after he was kicked out of power during the 1st century. However, Nero ended up committing suicide because no one could find Spiculus to kill the emperor. He was featured in many artworks and his fame was documented from these reliefs.
Hermes was a gladiator that had many different fighting abilities and skills. He mastered different styles of combats and weapons. Hermes was also a very proficient warrior in the Colosseum. Historians only know of the gladiator Hermes through the works of a Roman poet named Martial. This poet detailed Hermes exploits in great detail and outlined his many different fighting abilities and skills. Apparently, Hermes was a highly rated gladiator during his day.
7. Priscus and Verus
Priscus and Verus were two top rated gladiators who put on the biggest fight of the 1st century. These individuals rose through the ranks as the best gladiators to compete within any arena. However, the day came when they both had to compete against each other.
These two faced each other in combat in the Flavian arena and it was considered one of the biggest and best gladiator spectacles in all of history. The poet Martial was very fond of gladiators. He often spoke about them in his work. He detailed this epic battle between Priscus and Verus.
Their battle was literally fought to a standstill. Once they realized they could not defeat each other they decided to lay down their sword. Emperor Titus was ruler at the time and he awarded both of these warriors their freedom after this match. He was truly impressed by them.
6. Marcus Attilius
Marcus Attilius was a gladiator who reached a legendary status. He defeated some high quality opponents during his day. One of these competitors was known as Hilarus and another was known as Raecius Felix. Each of these men had laid many gladiators to rest.
Attilius victory over both of these men was considered astounding. The reason being is that Attilius was considered a rookie and the other two were pros. So, he defeated two veteran warriors and became a highly rated contender in gladiator lore.
Carpophorus specialized in animal combat which was far more brutal and dangerous than fighting other gladiators. He took on lions, bears and even powerful rhinos and survived them all. Carpophorus would defy the odds of fighting against wild animals.
Many gladiators that competed within this mode of combat had an extremely short life expectancy. However, Carpophorus outlived most gladiators. During the height of his career he took on 20 different wild animals in a single battle and killed every last one of them.
Crixus was a gladiator before becoming a famous military commander. He was known to fight against warriors who were a lot bigger and stronger than he was. Crixus’s life and exploits did not end in the arena. Instead, they ended with him leading a coup against Rome. Roman gladiators had revolted and broke free from their chains. Crixus was one of their leaders. Crixus tried to lead an attack on the upper class of Rome but the legions had intercepted him and soundly defeated him and his followers. He is one amongst the Top 10 Gladiators of Ancient Rome.
Commodus was not a real gladiator in the truest sense. He was actually a Roman emperor who lost his mind. In ancient Rome, gladiators were slaves and considered way beneath the status of the upper class and nobility. So it was ludicrous for any upper class person to call themselves a gladiator. This was especially true for the upper class. However, this was not the case with Emperor Commodus.
Commodus actually believed he was a gladiator and staged many battles to prove his belief. He would fight against opponents in an unfair manner and he usually set up fights for him to win. Commodus was so far gone with this belief as a gladiator that the Roman upper class realized that they had to get rid of him. So he was assassinated in 192 A.D.
Flamma was the arena name for a particular Roman gladiator that fought in the Coliseum for 13 years. He had a very long run and competed in over 34 battles. This man was a former Syrian soldier who was captured in battle. Flamma’s skill was so legendary that he earned his freedom 4 times. Strangely, he never left the arena. He chose to continue to fight. He was really good at what he was doing and he ended up becoming one of the greatest gladiators in the history of this brutal sport.
Spartacus is by far the most famous gladiator of all time. He was a Thracian warrior who was captured from his homeland and sold into slavery. His master happened to own a gladiator school and prepared Spartacus for completion. Spartacus trained for many years a gladiator and fought many battles. Soon, he had an opportunity for escape.
After he pulled off coup and started a rebellion he was able to start a revolution. The famous gladiator Crixus was helping Spartacus until their split. Spartacus built up a huge army of slaves that he turned into a massive army. At first they defeated the legionnaires without a problem.
Eventually, Rome sent out a powerful military commander named Marcus Licinius Crassus who wasa able to defeat Spartacus and his band. Spartacus was finally killed in Italy. He is considered the most famous gladiator because he actually challenged the Roman Empire and had the ability to bring it down.
These above are the Top 10 Gladiators of Ancient Rome. These gladiators fame has lived on long past their time on Earth. Their legacy as ancient great arena warriors will not easily be forgotten in history.