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By 174 BC, "small" Roman munera (private or public), provided by an editor of relatively low importance, may have been so commonplace and unremarkable they were not considered worth recording: Many gladiatorial games were given in that year, some unimportant, one noteworthy beyond the rest — that of Titus Flamininus which he gave to commemorate the death of his father, which lasted four days, and was accompanied by a public distribution of meats, a banquet, and scenic performances.The climax of the show which was big for the time was that in three days seventy four gladiators fought. Where traditional ludi had been dedicated to a deity, such as Jupiter, the munera could be dedicated to an aristocratic sponsor's divine or heroic ancestor.The Paestum frescoes may represent the continuation of a much older tradition, acquired or inherited from Greek colonists of the 8th century BC.Livy places the first Roman gladiator games (264 BC) in the early stage of Rome's First Punic War against Carthage, when Decimus Iunius Brutus Scaeva had three gladiator pairs fight to the death in Rome's "cattle market" Forum (Forum Boarium) to honor his dead father, Brutus Pera.

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The enemy, besides their other warlike preparation, had made their battle-line to glitter with new and splendid arms.

The next recorded munus, held for the funeral of Publius Licinius in 183 BC, was more extravagant.

It involved three days of funeral games, 120 gladiators, and public distribution of meat (visceratio data) The enthusiastic adoption of gladiatoria munera by Rome's Iberian allies shows how easily, and how early, the culture of the gladiator munus permeated places far from Rome itself.

There were two corps: the shields of the one were inlaid with gold, of the other with silver ...

The Romans had already heard of these splendid accoutrements, but their generals had taught them that a soldier should be rough to look on, not adorned with gold and silver but putting his trust in iron and in courage ...

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