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
galea: visored helmet
galerus: metal shoulder piece
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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Review of Barry Strauss' The Spartacus War
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William Smith's Gladiatores
Gladiators entry from an 1875 dictionary of antiquities on Bill Thayer's Lacus Curtius site.
- Bill Thayer's Lacus Curtius site on Warfare (Weapons Dictionary)
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