Gladiators, slaves who were specially trained, liberated, free men or prisoners of war in ancient Rome, fought with each other with daggers, shields or other weapons, and won the applause of the audience. In the Roman Empire about two thousand years ago, similar entertainment programs were popular.
The earliest records of the gladiators date back to 264 BC. The gladiators at that time were mostly slaves and were forced to fight to death at the funeral of the famous aristocrat Junius Brutus Bella. Gladiators are trained professional killers who often fight to death to please emperors and local lords. In Rome, the Republic gladiators were mostly privately funded, while the imperial gladiators were mainly funded by the royal family or the government.