Adopted from the Celtiberians in the late 3rd century BC and then adapted by the Romans, the gladius was one of the most feared weapons in the ancient world. Both a lethal stabbing weapon and a formidable chopping blade, it was first used by the Roman Army in Spain, but employed to greatest effect when a strict gladiatorial training regime was applied. Literary sources tell of the terror it induced, while archaeological evidence of wounds inflicted provides testament to it’s deadly effect. Pulling together strands of literary, sculptural and archaeological evidence, renowned expert M.C. Bishop charts the development of the gladius, exploring the way in which the shape of the short sword changed as soldiers and gladiators evolved their fighting style, and how the iconic weapon helped Rome conquer the ancient Mediterranean world.