Gladiators are well known figures in works of fiction and popular culture. Stories often focus on their brute strength, endurance, and thirst for violence. However, new archaeological discoveries and analysis are presenting more details about the gladiatorial games and the people involved. It's showing us just how deeply the Roman Empire depended on these games both for the elites and the common citizen. As the evidence suggests, these ancient games were far more complex than just a mindless blood sport.