We know relatively little about the role sports played in ancient history. But of all the sports portrayed during antiquity, the gladiatorial combat was one that has been the most commonly portrayed and studied. The spectacle of bloodshed in Roman society is a subject of interest that is generally only viewed in regards to gladiatorial combats. But these spectacles had a wide array of uses. For example, spectacles of death included not only gladiatorial combats but also ritualized executions and animal hunts. These spectacles of death fulfilled a variety of purposes including most predominantly entertainment, but they were also used for the forming of punishments, promoting interacts between the rulers and the ruled and providing meals for the people of Roman society.
Cowles, Lauren E.
"The Spectacle of Bloodshed in Roman Society,"
Constructing the Past: Vol. 12
, Article 10.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.iwu.edu/constructing/vol12/iss1/10