A parent's imagination no doubt helped title this picture of their son. There has long been a fascination in our culture with Rome and its gladiators.
"The Young Gladiator" (ca. 1890)
History shows that most gladiators were slaves. The first written record of gladiator combat dates back to a religious ceremony in Rome in 264 BC. Later, gladiators were used in the military for combat training. However, some gladiators were free men and became heroes in the arena, earning great fame and wealth.
Books and movies have recorded their times and legends with gusto. In 1925, the silent film hit, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, put gladiators on the screen. The movie was based on a popular novel of the same title by Lew Wallace, written in 1907. It cost the film industry $3.9 million to make and was the second most expensive silent film ever made.
[Gravseth family archive; ca. 1890] Copyright 2013 © Sharon Himsl
[source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/ptop/A46178445; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben-Hur_(1925_film)]