Revisiting deadly spectacles that entertained Rome

Take a journey to the ancient Rome to uncover the history of animal-gladiators combats — the unseen clashes of high adrenaline entertainment — an untold story of animals being brought into the ring. A no win situation had these animals fight one another and the master gladiators. Spectacular, dangerous and exciting, these cruel spectacles entertained the ancient Rome.

Animal Gladiators will reveal some of the most fascinating facts about the Roman animal trade and uncover the who’s, how’s and why’s of this 2,000 year-old practice. The two-hour programme will witness the role of exotic species, captured and prepared to fight master gladiators. Through impressive computer re-creations, stunning life-like images and meticulous sound design, the programme will create an imagery of the ancient Rome. Viewers will experience the cruelty, torture, violence and exhilaration of the Roman-animal contests through the eyes of their principal victims.

For the Romans, these hunts were primarily about taming nature. It was a true test of courage to face a lethally dangerous animal that was cornered, with just a spear. Many of the animals that ended up fighting for their lives in the Roman Colosseum, were captured as far away as jungles of South Africa. These included bisons, elk, bears, tigers, rhinoceros and elephants.

The show will be telecast on October 1 at 12 noon and October 2 at 11 p.m. on Animal Planet.