|PUBLIC GAMES & RECREATION
When gladiator fights came to town, people flocked to the cities from miles around. The Romans loved to see the blood and gore exhibited in the ring. The best fights were those that ended with a judgment passed by the sponsor of the fight: should the defeated man live or die? Looking back, we might believe the Romans were sadistic, but a quick analysis of our television programming will tell you that we are addicted to violence as well.
Public baths, combination pool and gymnasium, were a great source of recreation. They were the equivalent of public beaches. Men went there to mix, meet, converse, and brag. Exercise was necessary as well to keep men prepped for the possibility of military service.
Women were segregated to their own baths (unless you happened to be in a city with an unsavory reputation).
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|ABOVE: Gladiators salute the sponsor of the
games before they begin their battle.
BELOW: The Roman public baths