Daniel has a bachelor's degree in history from California State University Fullerton. Gladiatorial games are the most commonly known form of entertainment concerning the Roman Empire as popular culture emulates these games of combat in forms such as films, novels, and games. However, popular culture has caused many to unknowingly believe certain stereotypes, myths, and fallacies concerning gladiators, predominantly the gesture of a spectator or emperor pointing his thumb down to condemn a defeated gladiator or up to signify mercy. These stereotypes are a source of contention among historians in the field of ancient Roman entertainment and can prove to be problematic in discerning the truth of the fate of a gladiator. Before the gestures to either spare or kill a gladiator were given, there had to be a victor and a loser. Gladiatorial fights were not entirely the bloody and brutal fights most people think of; studies done on the skeletons of gladiators indicate that they followed set rules of combat  and that the first gladiator to wound his opponent .
Review of the Molecular Development of the Thumb: Digit Primera
Thumb signal - Wikipedia
This hand position is like the exact opposite of showing someone the thumbs up sign. After all when you give someone the thumbs up, it means that your thumb is fully extended and upright. In the gag reflex control hand position, the position of your thumb is the exact opposite of an upright thumb. What does it mean to give someone thumbs up sign though? However, you would be wrong. In ancient Rome, the thumbs up sign meant death! However, the painting is a gross misrepresentation.
Was a Gladiator's Fate Actually Determined by a Thumb?
Scientific research shows that more nerve connections exist between the hands and the brain than between any other part of the body, and so the gestures and positions we take with our hands give powerful insights into our emotional state. Our hands are usually positioned in front of our body, consequently these signals are easy to pick up and most of us have several trademark hand positions we continually use. Unconsciously, your hands reveal your attitude towards another person, place, or situation. Watch how your hands move spontaneously in greetings, farewells, and as you come to mutual agreement with someone else.
The thumb, or digit 1, is not a typical digit. In addition to its unusual mobility and function, its formation is also unusual. It is the last digit to form and the most commonly targeted when limb development is disrupted.