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The movie gladiator was fictional. Commodus did not murder Marcus Aurelius. Marcus Aurelius made him co-emperor in 177, three years before his death. The two ruled together with equal status. They celebrated a joint triumph and Commodus became consul at the age of 15, making him the youngest consul there had been up to then. There were conspiracies against Commodus, after he became sole emperor,

but none involved a general. Maximus Decimius Meridius is a fictional character.

The depiction of gladiatorial combats uses the misconceptions promoted by movies about these combats. Initially, gladiators fought to the death when the fights were part of a funerary ritual imported to Rome. However, this changed when Julius Caesar turned the combats into public games. The missio ((the sparing of a defeated gladiator's life) became common practice. Refusals by Caligula and Claudius to spare popular but defeated gladiators made them unpopular. Skill was more important than bloodshed. Winning a combat without causing injury was a desirable skill and several gladiators were praised for never injuring anyone. Successful gladiators were seen as heroes and on their death memorials with inscriptions about their deed and glory were built. Gladiators became big business for trainers and owners, aspiring politicians or high ranking men. The professional trainers made a living out of gladiators and did not want to see them executed. Nevertheless, it was still a dangerous game and death rates were quite high.

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Q: The differences between gladiator the movie and real roman history?
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