Why kill someone if they are to make a profit from it?

In Gladiator there is a scene where Proximo is giving a speech about how he just bought all these slaves, so that he can profit from their death. But, in the very next scene we see someone killing another man which is obviously in Proximo's house compound. If he is trying to make money why kill someone in what looks to be like training?

I did not pay good money for your company.... I paid it to profit from your death.

The scene where the man is killed at 3:04,


2 Answers 2


Gladiators have but one purpose, to die in a fight to the death. As the slave trader said around 1:27 in the clip about the batch of slaves he was selling..

Some are good for fighting, others for dying. You need both I think.

The man is killed in training, Proximo doesn't have him killed. This is simply one of the costs of doing business. We see the death after a shot of a rotting corpse, and see in the background a number of other men in racks, likely being punished. As Proximo says

I paid it to profit from your death.

The shot makes it clear that he is not kidding. The life of a gladiator is cheap, and death is expected. Which Proximo then reiterates

When you die, and die you shall...

  • 3
    "Some are good for fighting, others for dying. You need both I think." is important. Some men just aren't good enough fighters to be gladiators, but they are still useful to help the good gladiators learn how to kill a person. Jul 8, 2016 at 13:36
  • ding, ding. Nice job dbugger Jul 11, 2016 at 15:26

Because people that die quickly in a fight arn't profitable.

In the Gladiator arena, the money is made by entertaining the crowd. The better the fighter, the longer the fight, the more the crowd is entertained and ultimately, pays or bets. The longer a fighter lives by winning, the more likely they move up to better arenas, like any ranked sports systems. The more they win, the more the slave owner's reputation increases, from word of mouth. They go from hole-in-the-wall fighting pits, to the Super Bowl of gladiator fighting, the Colosseum.

The slaves that can't put up a fight are used as both training fodder and examples to the others that they must fight or die.

Proximo will see a profit if even a few out of the lot survive a few rounds in the pits. The ones that die are just the cost of doing business.

  • 1
    Thought I should mention this- I've heard it said that because the cost of acquiring and training gladiators was so high, actual death matches weren't as common as modern-day audiences like to think. Jan 22 at 20:46

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