All the historical inaccuracies in the Australian Gladiators reboot

Australian Gladiators is back on screens around the country that were watching any other Channel 10 show only to be forced to sit through ads for it, but disappointingly our historical experts claim that the show might have been more focused on spectacle than accuracy while recreating ancient Roman gladiatorial combat.

Here are the historical inaccuracies that our researchers were able to find in just the pilot episode:

Bedazzled Uniforms

The uniforms in the show, while nice, are not quite accurate to what combatants actually wore in ancient times. While traditional gladiator uniforms did show off some tasteful midriff and thighs like the outfits from the show, the emphasis of the small amount of clothing was more on providing ‘armour’ and were definitely not bedazzled spandex. The costume department really dropped the ball with their research in this regard.

Weapons being covered in foam

While weapons were in fact used by combatants in the gladiatorial arena, they tended to be along the lines of sharp swords not giant versions of cotton buds with foam at the end of them. Those weapons, while bright and colourful for the television cameras, would serve very little purpose in a battle to the death in a gladiatorial arena. Historically the weapons from the show were more traditionally used in indoor bouncy houses by the kid who clearly has some anger issues.

Silly Games

The games in the show are where we start to take a major departure from having any semblance of historical accuracy. From the game where the contestants run around trying to throw balls into bins without being tackled, to the game where contestants try and climb a rock wall without getting tackled, or the game where they try climb a foam pyramid without being tackled; as far as historical record shows, none of those clearly creative games were ever actually featured in gladiatorial combat, which tended to be more along the lines of ‘kill each other’.

Focus on a fighter’s ‘booty’

While ancient Rome was a really horny place, full of wild sexual explorations and orgies, however our historians do not believe there would have been as much focus on the arse of a challenger. Instead the focus of those in attendance would likely be on the people fighting to the death in the middle of the arena.

In fact we counted 6 uses of the term ‘booty’ while talking about a female contestant’s rear end and 4 obligatory camera shots directly focused on just her ass. Both of those are not historically accurate as the term ‘booty’ did not exist as a term for a person’s behind until the twentieth century, and shots of a woman’s ass in that fashion did not exist either as Michael Bay was not alive in ancient Rome.

Ad Breaks

While normally the bane of any tv show, ad breaks were obviously not part of gladiatorial combat. However our historians do give this mistake a pass saying that it ‘is just part of tv in the modern era’ and ‘gave us a sweet sweet release from the tv show, where 90% of it is hearing the same introductions over and over again’.


The ‘main event’ of the show was a part where contestants had to run up a travelator. Electricity wasn’t a thing in ancient times, let alone travelators. We have no idea what could have possibly possessed anyone into thinking that this would have been something that was used in Ancient Rome. Honestly, this is the sort of mistake that someone should be fired over.

Subbing out injured combatants

During the episode, a contestant fell to ground after hurting his ankle. Instead of beheading the weak male or even claiming victory in the gladiatorial arena, one of the champion ‘gladiators’ showed concerned for the injured teen. A medical team later took the boy out of the game in a wheelchair, and he was substituted out for a different competitor. Where is the bloodshed? Where is the stakes? Seriously, we understand this was a PG timeslot which would affect what can be shown on television, but what is gladiatorial combat without the stakes? We sure hope that they wheeled the boy to behind a curtain to do to him what is done to Melbourne Cup horses who break their ankles.

A gladiator awkwardly going for a fist bump while the other goes for a handshake

Roman Gladiators weren’t big on fist bumps so this likely wouldn’t have happened, too bad for this modern gladiator who did do it though.

Lack of Lions

While lions are not necessary for gladiatorial combat, it does feel inaccurate that if the combat was as boring as what was seen during the show, they wouldn’t have chucked in a lion just to make it more interesting. Although we do understand that this is early in the season and hope that they will release a lion into the competition arena at some point into the show, it would make the show actually watchable.

Annoying hosts

Easily the worst part of the show and the least historically accurate part too. While this show constantly cuts too painfully annoying hosts, the ancient Romans understood that the basics of entertainment and knew not to have them there. This means Rome also didn’t have the laugh track and other canned audience reactions that were used when the hosts were trying to be funny. They also didn’t have a former Gladiator act as a referee in a basketball referee uniform struggling his way through clearly scripted interactions between him and the gladiators. Again, we think that introducing a lion to attack those involved in the production could really fix this problem.

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