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The Romans glorified the shown in the arena, but trivialized the events and degraded the participants. Mosaic pictures of executions and combats, violent to our eyes, were displayed in the public rooms and even dining rooms in the homes of wealthy Romans. How can the viewer today possibly understand such images? Until fairly recently, modern authors writing about the arena minimized its significance and the institutionalized violence as a sideline to Roman history. The was also to view the events through our own eyes and to see them as pitiful or horrifying, although to most Romans empathy with victims of the arena was inconceivable. In the past few decades, however, scholars have started to analyze the complex motivations for deadly public entertainments and for contradictory views of gladiators as despised, yet beloved hero-slaves.