A gladiator (Latin: gladiator, "swordsman", from gladius, "sword") was an armed combatant who entertained audiences in the Roman Republic and Roman Empire in violent confrontations with other gladiators, wild animals, and condemned criminals. Some gladiators were volunteers who risked their legal and social standing and their lives by appearing in the arena. Most were despised as slaves, schooled under harsh conditions, socially marginalized, and segregated even in death.
The wealthiest of Barons often held gladiatorial games, with the participants less than willing. Convicts and outlanders were usually pitted against ones another, with the survivor(s) still subject to some form of punishment. (Twilight Children)