The Truth About Ancient Gladiators | Adam Ruins Everything

The Truth About Ancient Gladiators | Adam Ruins Everything

(people whistling) – [Adam] The coliseum. It was in this vaunted
arena that the masses satisfied their blood lust
as they watched lethal and skilled gladiators fight to the death. (gladiator grunting) As slaves, or prisoners of war, these gladiators were forced into battle and had but one choice, win or die. Sometimes the only hope
of a fallen gladiator lie in the whims of the Roman Emperor. Will this fallen warrior
survive to fight another day? Or, will he be fed to the lions? (crowd cheering) (lions roaring) Actually gladiatorial contests
were way more tame than this. – So whoever told you this
version must have been lyin’. (crowd booing) – [Adam] Oh god no. Puns? – What are you talking about Adam? This was bloodsports. – Nope, in fact, for most
of gladiatorial history, intentionally killing your
opponent was against the rules. That’s why only one in 10
matches ended in a death. – [Man] But I thought gladiatorial
combat was pure mayhem? They actually had rules? – Yup, as well as umpires to enforce them. – Alright gents, how
bout a good clean fight. No head shots from behind, no eye-gouging, and be sure to keep those
genitals well covered. We don’t want anyone losing their bits. Touch weapons, and fight. – And these umpires
were scrupulously fair. In fact, if your opponent
fell by accident, the umpire would stop the
match and let him get up. – [Man] Please, let me help. – Oh you’re too kind. – [Adam] But the most
important rule, no killing. Gladiators were actually trained
to subdue their opponents rather than flat out kill them. – Beware my deadly trident. Which is mostly just for show,
I’m really more of a net guy. – [Man] Wait, if no one dies,
how do we know who wins? – Easy! A match would actually end
when a gladiator was wounded, got too tired or just held
up a finger to tap out. – Oh, ow ow ow. Okay I give up, I give up. (whistle blows) – [Adam] What? But that cuts down on
all the awesome murders and decapitations, why would they do that? Because gladiators were expensive. Many were fed, clothed,
housed, armed and trained by owners called Lanista. – You’re up next kid. I want you float like a
butterfly, sting like a bee and avoid damage like
an uninsured rental car. Go. – [Adam] And it would be
a very poor investment if half of your roster
was killed every match. – Oh God, no! His resale value is ruined! Thanks a lot. – That’s why archeological
evidence suggests gladiators had healthy diets and received quality medical care. Due to all of this, some
gladiators were able to fight in upwards of 40 battles. Similar to a modern day boxer. – And improving his record to 40 and 0, the Butcher from Bataca. – It’s just a stage name folks. I wouldn’t butcher anyone,
I’m a professional. – Alright, maybe the matches
were safer than I thought. But it doesn’t matter
because at any moment the empire could decide to kill them. – Sorry, while on occasion
an emperor or a sponsor would demand a fight to the death, it was rare and generally frowned upon. In fact, Romes first emperor outlawed fights to the death entirely. – I decree this arena death free. (crowd booing) You know how hard it is
to get blood out of sand. – [Man] But the spectators,
didn’t untamed masses thirst for blood? – [Adam] Nope, they were
actually more like fans at a sporting event. – Come on Butcher, let’s go, let’s go. – The truth is, being
a gladiator was a lot like being a modern celebrity athlete. Gladiators portraits graced
the walls of public places, children played with small
clay gladiator dolls. – It’s an action figure. – And the most successful fighters even commercially endorsed products. – On the field you may
know me as The Butcher, but off the field I’m
just a guy who loves fish. And I always get my fish
at Octavius Fish Mongery. There’s no fish like an Octavius fish. (bells ringing)

100 Replies to “The Truth About Ancient Gladiators | Adam Ruins Everything”

  1. "I want you to float like a butterfly, sting like a bee and avoid damage like an uninsured rental car."

  2. Okay I'll be honest this make Gladiators sound way more awesome and now I sort of want to replace boxing with this. I mean we've got enough criminals might as well make them do something more contributing to society even if it's just our own entertainment

  3. 2:57
    "And received quality medical care"
    *sees someone taking a spear out of someone's shoulder, making the patient's bleeding worse*

    q u a l i t y m e d i c a l c a r e

  4. This is just lies.

    Gladiators was found with chains digging into their flesh if the struggled. They got medical care yes. But they where still fighting to the death. Because war and death was so commen for the Romans they saw it more as fun than harsh

  5. Well you are certainly correct to downplay the lethality of the matches the mistreatment depicted in most literature is relatively accurate in saying it's uncommon is a bit of a stretch because Championship matches were mostly to the death although Augusta (Octavian) ceasar did outlaw deathmatches though that practice did not last very long

  6. Gladiators were not just slaves forced to fight, there were actually free citizens who became gladiators willingly.
    It is true that being a Gladiator was like being a celebraty. Not only that, skilled fighters who survived many battles also became very ritch.
    Because of this, many free people or retired soldiers willingly became gladiators to gain fame and fortune.

  7. Actually…. gladiators were prisoners of war or slaves that fought to the death for entertainment and most people thing gladiator battles were on sad but the were actually on water. What Adam here is saying is something that people believed before but modern day archaeologists can debunk this story very easily. There was actually a fight that was led by the gladiator Spartak because he thought the rule were unjust, the lost and were hung on crosses so the whole town can see what happens when you fight against the Roman warriors. Of course the emperor never decided if someone was gonna die or not but the games still had death. In the time of etruscans they had gladiator battles on graves because they believed that spilled blood on the grave is good luck for the after life. What Adam said was a story made for children so gladiators didn't seem so scary. And I am not saying Adam is terrible I am just saying that he is wrong

  8. All I heard about these gladiators was that they killed Christians. All this thing about them killing each other was kinda sketchy for me…

  9. Can you imagine what would happen if one in ten people died in boxing? Can you imagine how horrified and scandalized we would be by that? Perhaps the popular conception of gladiators is exaggerated. And maybe over thousands of years, it's gotten mixed up with the executions that preceded their matches. Still, one in ten is pretty brutal, and not civil at all. People going to see these things were probably bloodthirsty. That's why Christian bishops, who actually saw these matches, condemned them as a sign of societal decline.

  10. Don't these people mentions deaths of slaves for fun because they were not seen as citizens and also they used to kill entire spices off while the gladiators would slaughter them for days nonstop day and night.

  11. Gladiators were also used in war in rare cases and were actually able to kill when given the order to but this is more or less correct

  12. "Adam ruins Gladiators".

    Lol you kidding? This character is awesome. Why he no have his own show?

  13. 2:28 Ah, a wound like that ain't nothing. He will make a full recover no problem. If you jump ahead a few centuries however with a wound like that…

  14. Like in today's competitive martial arts people didn't come to the arena to see blood shed and death but to watch a flashy display of fighting skill and weapon prowess.

  15. Everyone who played Swords And Sandals probably knew the no killing rule, considering you can't kill in the arena, only in the death pits.

  16. Western media has manipulated and commercialized everything and made millions out of it twisting history and facts and lying about it

  17. This was before the colosseum and professional gladiatorial fights. It was mainly pow’s, and slaves that fought to the DEATH DEATH.

  18. They were also theatrical. People dressed as their gods would come on to the field and say a few words and then leave or pretend to use some godly power.

  19. It depends on what century of the Roman era. The death rate WAS 1 death / 10 matches but later climbed to 1 death / 4 matches by the third century

  20. So are we ignoring the fact that for some reason the emporer decided one day to try cleaning blood out of sand and actually was patient enough to wait until it was completely clean?

  21. Keep in mind there was still lots of deaths at Roman games. Thousands of animals were killed for show similar to modern bullfights. They also used the animals for executing prisoners.

  22. Fun fact! When Gladiator was in pre-production, the writers looked for historical accuracy, and came across the "product endorsment" bit, and decided not to include it, out of fear it would be seen as inaccurate.

  23. Could you imagine being a gladiator and being told you were going to be fighting to the death considering how rare it would have been

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