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Gladiators Weapons

Arms and Armor


Mosaic of gladiators fighting at Bad Kreuznach.

Mosaic of gladiators fighting at Bad Kreuznach.

Irene Hahn Roman Gladiator Helmet

Roman Gladiator Helmet 1st Century A.D.

CC Photo Flickr User hsivonen Relief Showing Gladiators Fighting

Relief Showing Gladiators Fighting

CC Flickr User goforchris

Gladiators were the football players of their time - whether football conjures images of gridiron football or the World Cup. Individual players, then as now, could win renown and fortune. Modern sportsmen sign contracts; ancient ones made oaths. Injuries were common, and the life of a player qua player was generally short. Gladiators generally fought individually rather than on teams, but just as teams may be named for violent pirating types, so the names of the types of fighters included those of Rome's former enemies.

There were many types of gladiators in ancient Rome. Some gladiators -- like the Samnite -- were named for opponents of the Romans [see Samnite Wars]; other types of gladiators, like the Provacator and Secutor, took their names from their functions: challenger and pursuer. Here are the types of weapons gladiators used:

Weapons of the Gladiator

fascina: harpoon

galea: visored helmet

galerus: metal shoulder piece

gladius: sword

hasta: lance

iaculum: net

manicae: leather elbow or wrist bands

ocrea:   metal or boiled leather greave

parma: round shield

scutum: large oblong shield

sica: curved scimitar

subligaculum: loin cloth


Also see: Types of Gladiators and


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