Types of Gladiators

Bestiarii: (beast fighters) originally armed with a spear or knife, these gladiators were condemned to fight beasts with a high probability of death. In later times, the Bestiarii were highly trained, specializing in various types of exotic, imported beasts.

Dimachaeri: Used two-swords, one in each hand.

Equites: Fought on horseback with a spear and gladius, dressed in a full tunic, with a manica (arm-guard). Generally, the Eques only fought gladiators of his own type.

Essedari: Celtic style charioteers, likely first brought to Rome from Britain by Caesar.

Hoplomachi (heavily armed) or Samnite: Fully armored, and based on Greek hoplites. They wore a helmet with a stylized griffin on the crest, woollen quilted leg wrappings, and shin-guards. They carried a spear in the Hoplite style with a small round shield. They were paired against Mirmillones or Thraces.

Mirmillones (or murmillones): Wore a helmet with a stylized fish on the crest (the mormylos or sea fish), as well as an arm guard (manica). They carried a gladius and an oblong shield in the Gallic style. They were paired with Hoplomachi or Thraces.

Retiarii: Carried a trident, a dagger, and a net, a larger manica extending to the shoulder and left side of the chest. They commonly fought secutores or mirmillones. Occasionally a metal shoulder shield, or galerus, was added to protect the neck and lower face.

Saggitarii: Mounted bowman armed with reflex bows capable of propelling an arrow a great distance.

Thraces: The Thracian was equipped with a broad-rimmed helmet that enclosed the entire head, a small round or square-shaped shield, and two thigh-length greaves. His weapon was the Thracian curved sword, or the sica. They commonly fought mirmillones or hoplomachi.

Velites: Fought on foot, each holding a spear with attached thong in strap for throwing. Named for the early Republican army units of the same name.


 

 

 


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