A rudis is a wooden sword received by a gladiator who achieved earning his freedom or retirement. It was carried with him as proof of his accent from slavery and that he was now a freeman. The ex-gladiator now referred to as a rudiarii was now free to retire or seek other employment. Many rudiarii would continue to work as a manager, trainer or referee in the gladiatorial sport. Some would even choose to fight in the arena to continue their former glory they achieved as a slave. These rudiarii were the most successful and most achieved confident gladiators that were highly skilled and feared by all that would face them.
Today we don't have gladiatorial combat in the same way as they did in ancient Rome but the rudis tradition has adapted and become a right of passage symbol for someone who has reached the end of their career and earned a retirement. It is a symbol of pride and recognition for a lifetime of achievement. It represents the freedom from your employment, your employer and the independence that you have fought many years for. A wonderful gift idea for the retired or someone choosing a new career path or self employment. The rudis was a wooden version of a Gladius (sword) because of it's Roman origin but today it's meaning can be passed down through a wooden katana, broadsword, saber or European arming sword to match your families origins.
One of the most famous and best recorded gladiatorial fight's was in the new Flavian Amphitheatre. Priscus and Verus two famous gladiator known for their bravery were expected to fill the seats in a fight to the death. The victor would earn his freedom in this highlight fight, during the opening day of the games. These two highly skilled gladiator fought with sword and shield for so long that they could no longer lift their shields. They were dropped and continued combat sword on sword. Once the swords could no longer be held they drop them and fought hand to hand until neither could fight anymore. They fought with so much heart and courage that for the first time in history, Emperor Titus declared both men as the winner and they were each awarded a rudis and their freedom. This act by the Emperor made Titus one of the most famous emperor's in Roman history.