While we swing and sweat, Franchetti continues to explode some myths about gladiators. Contrary to common belief, he says, they were not he-man meat-eaters who always fought to the death. By examining their skeletons, physical anthropologists have concluded that they were largely vegetarians, whose diet primarily consisted of legumes, barley and dried fruits as well as an “energy drink” high in minerals. In addition, although the games began as an early form of multitasking – amusing the citizens of Rome while putting condemned army deserters and killers to death – professional gladiators eventually became a valuable commodity. These were usually free men who signed on as gladiators for profit or thrills.