Gladiator Tattoo Meaning, Design & Ideas

If you are looking for a tattoo that represents courage and strength in the face of danger, the gladiator tattoo is the way to go. On days like these and with all the crazy things happening, it’s nice to look down at a tattoo and remind yourself that you are courageous.

Now are we as courageous as the gladiators of Roman days were? I don’t know for sure, but those guys fought to live so they had no choice.

In addition to the history of the gladiator, it became even more popular after the Russell Crowe hit, Gladiator. The word, gladiator, was derived from the Latin word “gladius”. This is translated to “sword”.

In this article, we will talk about gladiators and what they did. We will also talk about the meaning behind the gladiator tattoo and what it means to the person who has it inked on their body. There are many variations and movie references that make this a popular tattoo and below we will review some of those variations as well.

What is a Gladiator

During the times of the Roman Empire, the gladiator entertained audiences by fighting animals, other gladiators and criminals. This was no sure victory for the gladiator and they even sometimes volunteered their service for a cause. All the while, they were risking their lives and the people loved it.

However, most of these gladiators were not there by choice. Most of these men were slaves and fought because they were forced to. Initially, anyone who was sentenced to death or was a prisoner of war was forced to become a gladiator.

One of the reasons that some people volunteered was because these gladiators were paid handsomely if they kept winning and with those winnings, they were potentially able to buy their freedom. However, they weren’t offered proper schooling, they were socially marginalized and even in death they were segregated.

Even though they may not have wanted to be there, gladiators were celebrated as heroes in low and high art and they were commemorated for their entertainment value. They fought well and they died honorably even when they didn’t want to. It was truly a tragic life for men forced into the arena.

The origin of the gladiator in combat is still disputed. There is some evidence of gladiators in the 3rd century BC during the Punic Wars. The evidence was seen in funeral rites and soon after, gladiatorial combat became important to both social and political life in Roman times.

Gladiator games lasted for almost 1000 years but with the adoption of Christianity, the games started declining in the 5th century. There were some other games that were watched in place of the gladiators like venationes. These were games that involved hunting wild beasts. These games were generally after the gladiator games but in the 6th century, it was the only one that had survived.

Gladiator Tattoo Meaning

Today, the gladiator tattoo represents strength and courage. The gladiator tattoo is a symbol of masculinity. However, we have seen some women with these tattoos letting others know that their gladiator tattoo represents the same values for them. Even though anyone can get this tattoo, most of the gladiators who battled in the coliseum were men and the qualities represented by this tattoo are traits that most men covet. These traits include aggression, fearlessness, loyalty, courage and a desire for freedom.

This tattoo will draw a lot of attention so if you aren’t into that type of attention, you should think twice about getting the gladiator tattoo. A tattoo of the gladiator is telling people you have these qualities but like any tattoo, you wouldn’t want one if it didn’t represent some part of you.

Gladiator Tattoo Variations

Below we will go over some of the different variations of the gladiator tattoo that we have seen in our research. There are many ways the gladiator can be depicted in a tattoo. We know there are more than we have listed but this will give you an idea of some of the ways people have represented the gladiator tattoo.

Gladiator (The Movie)

Russel Crowe was the lead role in the 2000 drama Gladiator. Crowe played a former general of the Roman army named Maximus Decimus Meridius. When Emperor Marcus Aurelius is killed by his own son, Commodus, Maximus refuses to give his loyalty and is immediately arrested. He is told he will be executed along with his family. Maximus escapes and rides home only to find his family has already been killed.

He collapses and is found by men who put him in the slave trade. Long story short, the plot revolves around Maximus’ journey through the Coliseum killing his way to the top to earn his freedom. The movie was a hit and won many awards including Best Picture and best lead actor. The popularity of this movie led to man Maximus’ tattoos.

Gladiator Armor Tattoo

Armor tattoos are popular choices to represent the warrior in all of us. It can be tattooed in small form or as an actual full-size armor-looking tattoo. Examples of this tattoo would be armor over the shoulder or chest armor representing our courage and the fight within us.

Roman Coliseum Tattoo

The Coliseum is a tattoo that just screams “gladiator” to most people. It is the location where thousands of these battles went down so not only is this tattoo a representation of a historical monument but it also represents many battles and bloodshed.

Sword and Shield Tattoo

The sword and shield tattoos are representative of the weapons used in battle. These weren’t the only weapons used but they are symbols of the battle these gladiators endured for over 1000 years. This tattoo represents aggression and at the same time, it represents a guarding of one’s self. This tattoo might symbolize someone protecting their soul or feelings from the outside world while showing they are willing to fight to protect it.

Whatever your reason for getting the gladiator tattoo, make sure you do your research into the shop and artist you want to see. If you need help finding an artist, let us know because we’d love to help.

The team at Tattoo SEO has years of experience in the tattoo industry and we would love to help make your tattoo vision come true.

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