Gladiators (Latin: gladiatōrēs, "swordsmen" or "one who uses a sword," from gladius, "sword") were professional fighters in ancient Rome, who fought against each other, wild animals and sentenced criminals, sometimes to the death, for the entertainment of the public. These fights took place in arenas in many cities from the Roman Republic period through the Roman Empire.
Gladiators often were slaves and people from other countries that fought Ancient Rome and lost and were captured. Some were normal citizens of the Roman Republic who wanted to be a gladiator and give up their freedom for a chance at glory.
There were different types of gladiators in the arena, such as Thracians, Mirmillones, Retiarii, and the Secutores. They used different types of armor and weapons. Besides swords, some used spears or axes. The gladiators were the professional athletes of their time. A few became very famous and rich.
Sometimes gladiators fought to the death. Sometimes the Emperor was there, and would have the final say about who would live and who would die.