36. Fighting as a gladiator was a wise career choice, especially for soldiers struggling with debt
It’s estimated that, by the late Republic, around half of all the gladiators fighting throughout Rome were volunteers. Despite the risks, stepping into the arena was an attractive proposition. A gladiator was often allowed to keep any prize money, as well as any gifts that were thrown to them. Plus, of course, they received housing and food and perhaps even lucrative work as bodyguards to the elite. Mark Antony, for example, recruited his bodyguards from gladiatorial barracks rather than from the Army, paying them handsomely for their service and loyalty.