39. Julius Caesar was one of the first rich Romans to spend vast sums on gladiators – and it was well worth the money for him
Under Julius Caesar, state-sponsored games became big business in Ancient Rome. Caesar spent huge sums of money – most of it borrowed from friends or political allies – on gladiators, ostensibly to honor the memory of his father and his sister but in reality to make himself more popular with the public. And the tactic worked. So long as they could regularly watch men forced to fight to the death in front of them, most everyday people were happy to turn a blind eye as Caesar grabbed power from the Senate and transformed the Republic into a de facto autocracy.