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.
More on Gladiators
- Gladiators - Ending the Fight
Find out whether the emperor raised his thumb for mercy.
- What You Need to Know About Gladiators
Who were they? Where did they learn to fight? Were the only gladiators male slaves? More.
- Review of Barry Strauss' The Spartacus War
Strauss describes Spartacus' training before describing the journey Spartacus took to freedom and death.
- William Smith's Gladiatores
Gladiators entry from an 1875 dictionary of antiquities on Bill Thayer's Lacus Curtius site.
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