The Latin name means "swordsmen" and it describes the professional fighters in ancient Rome. They were fighting against each other, against condemned criminal and even wild animals. The fights sometimes ended in death just to entertain the public gathered in the arena.
The Gladiators came from criminals, prisoners of war or slaves that were condemned to gladiator schools. In time, most of them were volunteers attracted by the idea of becoming famous or to get some money.
But not all of the fights were between trained gladiators because sometimes people were forced to fight just because this was the ruler’s decision. Slaves and prisoners could gain their freedom, winning a fight and they were allowed to have relationships with women. But they still could not become Roman citizens. After having back their freedom they could marry and their children could become citizens.
A special event was when one of the fighters was left-handed. They had advantage because were trained to fight the right-handed, who were not trained for them.