Soprintendenza Archeologica per le Province di Napoli e Caserta

Although we tend to think of gladiatorial games as fights to the death, they were really contests of skill. Most gladiators went into the arena well-armed and protected. The helmet and greaves from ancient Pompeii shown here are typical of those worn by many contestants. Fights between professional gladiators usually ended as soon as one combatant was wounded or surrendered, and one recent study shows that only between five and ten percent of those who engaged in gladiatorial combat actually died in the arena.