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Animal Gladiators

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‘Animal Gladiators’ explores Ancient Rome's fascination with gladiators battling to the death with exotic animals. The Roman Emperor was a powerful man and one of the ways he showcased his authority was to put on the most spectacular and dangerous shows at the coliseum. To achieve this, the Romans would capture large animals, including tigers and lions, from outside the Roman Empire and transport them hundreds of kilometres over sea to fight. The spectators thrived on the excitement of not knowing who would die - the animal or gladiator. This programme investigates this brutal form of entertainment that endangered - and even extinguished - so many irreplaceable species and whether similar spectacles occur in society today.