Nicholas Taleb's Antifragile continues to surprise me with interesting claims made as asides during bigger arguments. The following statement appears late in the book:
The great historian Paul Veyne has recently shown that it is a big myth that gladiators were forced labor. Most were volunteers who wanted the chance to become heroes by risking their lives and winning, or, when failing, to show in front of the largest crowd in the world how they were able to die honorably, without cowering—when a gladiator loses the fight the crowd decides whether he should be spared or put to death by the opponent. And spectators did not care for nonvolunteers, as these did not have their soul in the fight.
Is this claim right? Were the majority of Roman Gladiators volunteers?