In ancient Rome, a shepherd named Marcus was staring into a fountain when a centurion named Cinna ambushed him from behind and brought him before the Praetor, Clodius Crassus. Cinna accused Marcus of trying to assassinate Clodius Crassus, even though it was actually Cinna and his men who tried to murder him. Marcus however, proved to be an apt patsy to cover up for Cinna's crimes. Praetor Clodius ordered Marcus thrown into the slave galley. Aboard the galley, a Nubian lion escaped from his cage and began attacking the crew. Marcus wrenched his slave chains from their moorings and used them as a weapon against the lion. The ship's overseer was so impressed with Marcus' fighting prowess that he recommended him for gladiatorial combat.
Marcus was brought back to Rome where he was forced to fight in the arena. His opponent Caius ensnared Marcus with a net then charged at him with his trident. Marcus was injured, but managed to catch the spear and turn it back upon his foe. The Praetor ruled to spare Caius' life so that he could "burn with rage" against Marcus. Cinna made Marcus fight a second time—this time against a charging bull. He deliberately armed Marcus with a faulty spear, hoping that the bull would kill him. The bull indeed broke Marcus' spear, but the former shepherd still succeeded in conquering the beast. Marcus' next challenge was a chariot race. He raced against a fellow gladiator named Cotta, and managed to unseat him with a hearty toss from his shield. Marcus managed to win the race, and was thus granted his freedom. The Praetor rewarded him further by giving him a golden helmet and shield. To the cheering crowds of Rome, Marcus became known as the Golden Gladiator.
He continued to fight as a mighty warrior, always coming into conflict with Cinna—the corrupt conspirator responsible for his enslavement. Over time, Marcus began a relationship with Cinna's niece Lucia. He died in 73 A.D. while he was a bodyguard for Emperor Titus.
- Hand-to-Hand Combat (Advanced): The Golden Gladiator had a natural affinity for hand-to-hand combat, and was an Olympic-level athlete.
- Weaponry: He was skilled in the use of a variety of melee weapons including swords, spears, bolas and nets.
- Although this character was originally introduced during DC's Earth-One era of publication, their existence following the events of the 1985–86 limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths remains intact. However, some elements of the character's Pre-Crisis history may have been altered or removed for Post-Crisis New Earth continuity, and should be considered apocryphal.
- The Golden Gladiator fought as a warrior circa 54 A.D.; around the time that Nero was emperor of Rome.
- Marcus is also known as Marcus the Mighty.
- 29 Appearances of Marcus of Rome (New Earth)
- 1 Images featuring Marcus of Rome (New Earth)
- 1 Quotations by or about Marcus of Rome (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: Marcus of Rome (New Earth)
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