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A Day in the Life of a Gladiator in Training

'Personal Account' of Gladiator Caius Decimus - The Captured Spanish Slave

The following 'personal accounts' give a good idea of what it was like to be a enslaved Gladiator in the Roman Empire.

Day in the Life of a Gladiator in Training

I was once just a shepherd in Hispania, free under its vast skies. But fate had other plans—raiders came, and chains followed. Now, those chains have dragged me to the ludus, a hell where I'm caged and forced to fight, not for honour, but for mere survival.

5:00 AM - Sunrise Salutations - Dawn breaks, and we, mere tools in the lanista's arsenal, pledge our blood to Flavious Honorius. Each command he barks feels like a transaction, his profit etched out of our sweat and flesh. Breakfast is just fuel—barley and water, with an occasional fish to choke down. Nothing that lifts the spirit.

Gladiator in Training with Wooden Swords in the Ludus
Gladiator in Training with Wooden Swords in the Ludus

7:00 AM - Weapons Training - I repeat the same drills until I see Doctore Marcus approach:


Doctore Marcus: "Caius, your stance is too rigid. Bend your knees slightly. Let your body flow with the weight of the sword. You have been a Gladiator in Training for weeks now,y ou should know this."

Caius Decimus: "The sword feels like a burden, Doctore. It's heavy and unyielding."

Doctore Marcus: "It is a part of you now. Embrace its weight. Let it guide your movements. Watch."

Doctore Marcus demonstrates a fluid motion with the sword and precise and controlled movements. I’ve seen him do it before, but perhaps I need to do it again.

Doctore Marcus: "See how the sword moves as an extension of my arm. Your strength is important, but your technique will save you. Balance your weight evenly and use your opponent's force against them."

Caius Decimus: "I will try, Doctore. But some days, it feels like the fight is too much."

Doctore Marcus: "Every fighter has those days, Caius. But remember, you are not just fighting for survival; you are fighting for your future, for a chance at freedom. Use each swing, each step to reclaim your power. The arena is unforgiving, but so is your spirit. Do not let despair take root."

Caius Decimus: "Thank you, Doctore. Your words give me strength."

Doctore Marcus: "Good. Now, show me again. This time, let your spirit drive the sword."


With renewed determination, I take up the sword, my movements becoming more fluid and controlled, embodying the lessons Marcus imparted.


12:00 PM - Midday Meal and Rest - We're briefly allowed to rest, devouring our sparse meal swiftly. Too much food at lunchtime makes us slow, we are told. Today, a fight breaks out over a scrap of food. It's pathetic, but even a crumb is a treasure here. I break up the fight, reminding the lads of the real battles that await us. This place twists us, making us scrounge for scraps and dominance over each other.

gladiators hungrilly eating lunch after a mornings training.  Strong and muscular men in a dining room in the ludus
Lunch in The Ludus


2:00 PM - Tactical Exercises - We shift to the part of the day I look forward to the most—tactical exercises. After the brutal physical exertions of the morning, this session provides a mental challenge that offers me a small but significant respite. It’s a moment when I can feel a flicker of control over my destiny, engaging my mind in strategic games and planning that bring a different kind of intensity to our training.

During these exercises, I join my fellow trainees in complex maneuvers, where each of us tries to outsmart the other using clever tactics and teamwork. We're armed with wooden swords and shields, which makes the exercises less perilous but no less competitive. It’s here in these moments of feigned combat that I get to think, really think, and not just react. I strategize, anticipate my opponent’s next move, and learn the value of patience and foresight.

This brief escape into the realm of strategy offers a glimmer of solace. It reminds me that although my body may be enslaved to this grueling routine, my mind can still roam free, even if just for these few hours. Here, in the tactical games, I find a rare light in the relentless grind of gladiator training—a moment where I'm not just surviving, but thriving, even if it’s all just a simulated battle. This fleeting sense of autonomy is what sustains me, giving me the strength to face the rest of the day.


6:00 PM - Evening Meal - Dinner brings a semblance of normalcy, a moment to breathe and feel human amongst each other, sharing stories and a decent meal.


two gladiators cuddling at night in the ludus after training
Gladiators - Some Gay, Many Straight - Would Share their Bodies

8:00 PM - Chores and Free Time - Evenings offer a moment's respite from the watchful eyes of our captors. I find solace in hidden corners with a fellow gladiator; together, we steal moments of crude comfort, a brief escape from the relentless harshness of our reality.

10:00 PM - Lights Out - As night falls, and we lie packed tightly together, each lost in his own dwindling hopes. The darkness is suffocating, but in these quiet hours, my thoughts turn to escape, to strategies not just for surviving the arena but for breaking free from this bondage.

man before he was enslaved overlooking his farm in spain
Before Capture - Life on the Farm in Spain

Every night, the idea of freedom seems a dream slipping through my fingers, yet this dream fuels my resolve to face another day. So, after a day in my life as a gladiator in training, I close my eyes, praying for my deliverance.


I wake with a start. Remembering: me, alone, in the fields of Hispania once again.

Gladiator 2.0 - Behind the Battles -2000 Facts, Fights and Tales of Triumph in the Colosseum

150 New AI Generated Images from Ancient Texts and Murals Found in Roman Buildings and Paintings

Immerse yourself in the thrilling world of 'Gladiator 2.0,' where ancient history and gripping narrative converge. This book offers a deep dive into the lives of Roman gladiators, exploring their training, battles, and the vast array of weaponry specific to different fighter types.

Beyond the arena, the book sheds light on the complex social dynamics of Rome, including the intricate roles of women and the surprising personal relationships of the gladiators themselves. With over 2000 fascinating facts and 150 full-color illustrations, 'Gladiator 2.0' provides a vivid reimagining of gladiatorial life, making it a must-read for history enthusiasts and fans of Roman culture.

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