Gladiators wore arm and leg armor below the knee and elbows and carried shields. They wore belted tunics. Some gladiators fought on horseback or chariots. Combatants who had fallen to the ground asked for mercy. The crowd decided by booing or cheering if the wounded gladiator should live or die. The emperor would give a ‘thumbs up’ or ‘thumbs down.’ The ‘thumbs down’ sign meant death to the losing gladiator. Successful gladiators became heroes. Some were even set free.
The biggest arena in the city of Rome was the Colosseum. It could seat up to 50,000 people. The Colosseum was made of concrete. The concrete was poured into large wooden molds. The molds were in the shape of large arches.
Spartacus was a slave. In 73 BC,. he and a group of his friends broke out of their quarters. They pulled together an army of 90,000 slaves in a very short time. The Romans sent legion after legion to capture the slaves. Finally in 71 BC, three Roman armies captured Spartacus. The Romans killed Spartacus and crucified his followers.