It's the kind of intimate connection between sport and war that the American military's propagandists can only dream of—in a pinch, gladiators could even be conscripted right into the military.
Still more will feast and imbibe from their vehicles—a modern ritual called "tailgating," while listening to the thunderous roar of the crowd inside. Probing Question: Is football similar to Roman gladiator games?
Given its nature and its prominent position in our culture, is football the Roman gladiator sport for modern Americans?
I can't imagine a UFC fighter from the early 90s would have a chance against an ancient pankratist. In fact, the gladiators presented the least violent event in a day of spectacles, which proceeded from humans slaughtering animals, to animals slaughtering humans, to humans slaughtering humans in staged executions.
One such occasion occurred at Pompeii during the reign of Nero in 59 AD; insults that were traded by Pompeian and Nucerian fans sparked a riot during a set of gladiatorial games, which caused Nero to ban games in Pompeii for ten years.
The Romans were no different.