Went to the Corinium Museum in Cirencester yesterday. Have been meaning to go for some years but learning they had an exhibition of some of the skeletons from the Driffield Terrace burial site in York that are thought to be most likely those of gladiators spurred us to finally make the trip.
I find it a powerful thing to be in the company of the remains of people from 2000 years ago. The studies that have been made reveal a brutal existence, from tooth abscesses and malnutrition to the teeth marks of a large carnivore.
Most of them were young when they died, one between just 16 and 19 years, so really still a boy. With my own son not much younger I found it affecting to wonder what were the few years they did have like and what happened that they ended up as gladiators.