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We know that, aside from man-to-man combat, gladiatorial fights would often pit human gladiators against wild animals.

Is there any documented historical evidence that would show what was a bigger economic loss to the owner: losing a well trained gladiator, or losing a somewhat rare animal (say, a lion or a bear)?

For precision sake, let's define the loss in one of 2 ways:

  • Documented sale value of each

  • Documented expected profits from continuing to own each. I assume these would be harder to come by.

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Are you sure the animals were trained? I can understand gladiators being trained, but would you really train a tiger? Plus, I understood gladiator fights as being a tool to entertain and please the general populace, the economics might have been secondary. – apoorv020 Dec 20 '11 at 9:24
@apoorv020 - the question doesn't say anything about training the animal (but that's a good thing to ask separately). And yes, the economics might have been secondary, but that doesn't preclude the fact that there may have been an economic difference. – DVK Dec 20 '11 at 10:54

Slaves cost around 500 denarii at the time of Augustus - fluctuated around that price though depending on the wars.They were trained everyday and expected to live past one or two fights. Wild animals (untrained) were bought for the express purpose of being slaughtered, thus they would be purchased for much less. However, as they are rare they would obviously cost much more due to transport and demand. This being said, they did not require training and they were starved (low cost for food).

Therefore, generally, gladiators would be a bigger economic loss as not only did they have to be bought, they also had to be trained, well kept and well fed - whereas the animals just had to be bought.

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Excellent first answer! Welcome to the site Alex, I'm sure you'll be a welcome addition. – BrotherJack May 20 '12 at 13:46
Nice answer, but it could definitely go into more depth. – o0'. May 20 '12 at 20:02

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