Ave cesare morituri te salutant


Le file dei gladiatori erano costituite da prigionieri di guerra, condannati a morte e schiavi. Le iscrizioni riportano che coloro che erano di origine servile erano indicati solo dal cognome e ne costituivano la maggioranza. Tuttavia la tradizione di servirsi di soprannomi anche nelle epigrafi funerarie (Invictus, Ferox, Hercules, ecc) non consente di identificare con certezza la condizione sociale.

Inoltre non è un’eccezione trovare tra i gladiatori uomini liberi o liberti.

Ssoprattutto dopo che l’imperatore Adriano aveva emanato una legge che proibiva la vendita di schiavi agli allenatori dei gladiatori. Persino nobili romani scesero nell’arena, come accade nel 57 d.C., quando quattrocento senatori e seicento cavalieri si affrontarono nonostante due decreti precedenti vietassero a senatori, cavalieri e loro familiari di diventare gladiatori.

Episodi sporadici, conseguenza del fascino che la gladiatura esercitava, da non confondersi però con l’esistenza di uomini liberi (auctorati) che nella speranza di facili guadagni, di notorietà o per necessità sceglievano questa carriera. Disprezzati da Livio, che ne parlava come esempio di suprema venalità, in base alla Lex Italicensis offrivano la propria persona a un lanista rinunciando per tutta la durata dell’ingaggio, a ogni diritto di cittadinanza.

La legge ne fissava il compenso.

Al primo contratto, un auctoratus, poteva pretendere un compenso di almeno duemila sesterzi. Se alla data di scioglimento rinnovava l’ingaggio, la paga poteva salire a dodicimila sesterzi. Secondo alcuni storici al momento della firma, i gladiatori liberi pronunciavano un giuramento tramandatoci da molti autori. Giuramento con il quale le reclute riconoscevano al lanista il potere di punirli con il fuoco, di incatenarli, picchiarli e ucciderli.

Il reclutamento avveniva intorno ai diciotto anni, come per l’ingaggio militare, e la durata della vita era mediamente intorno ai trent’anni.


Come si svolgeva una giornata all’arena?

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