From the author of Ancient and Medieval Siege Weapons (Lyons Press), Konstantin Nossov, comes this eye-opening new study of one of the most popular pastimes of ancient Rome. This detailed, highly readable guide introduces readers to every aspect of the gladiator phenomenon: from the types of equipment the different classes of gladiator used-to the high place these sportsman came to occupy with the popular culture of the time. Nossov provides readers with a breathtaking tour of Gladiator customs. At the beginning of their 800-year existence in the 4th century BC, gladiatorial games served as a solemn funeral rite to honor high-born citizens. From the height of their popularity to their decline, they were the equivalent of a multi-billion dollar industry--run by entrepreneurs and highly regulated by the government. Nossov shows how, with few exceptions, Roman leaders embraced the spectacle and how over the centuries new events such as mortal combat with animals and full-scale naval battles were added to the games.