Scala/Art Resource, NY

Roman gladiators engage in savage combat to the death using tridents, swords and spears, in this fourth-century A.D. mosaic fragment from the Villa Borghese in Rome (compare with photos of amphitheater at El Djem). Similar depictions can be found throughout the ancient Mediterranean, attesting to the widespread popularity of gladiatorial games and Roman blood sports—a staple of Roman life from the third century B.C. until the end of the empire in the fourth century A.D.