by Johann Hollar 12 months ago in fighting

A who, what, and why series


I know many of you are aware of the bloody spectacle that was the gladiator matches. You are also probably aware of how the "Christian" Emperor Theodosius I had the games banned after imposing Christianity as a state religion and thus continuing the genocide of non-Christians.

But what else do you know about the Gladiator matches?

How were they paired and what types of Gladiators were there?

There are a lot of Gladiators to choose from, so I just picked the ones that interest me the most and leave you all with some websites where you can find the other Gladiators.

This is the first in a series.

Cestus Gladiator

A type of Gladiator (debatable) that fought only with his fists but often with gloves called a Cestus. There is talk that they fought other Gladiators that did wield weapons, primarily as a means of proving that boxing was superior to that of weapon-based combat. This Gladiator would really draw a crowd with this kind of fighting style.


Also called "Chaser" in English, this particular Gladiator would carry a shield with his left and a short sword called a Spatha in his right. For protection, he would have a metal guard on his left leg and on his right arm a metal or leather guard. His helmet, as you can see, was a rounded shape due to the fact that the Secutor would often be paired against Retiarius, and because the net was used as a weapon, it would not get tangled up in the helmet of the Secutor.


This bruiser was modeled after Roman Legionnaires as a symbolization of the battle between the Greeks and the Romans, which is interesting enough because the Murmillo would fight the Thraex and Hoplomachus, who were modeled after the Greek warriors.

What this badass gladiator would use as a weapon would be the traditional Roman Gladius that was a double-edged thrusting weapon. For armor, they would use the large Roman Shield as seen in the picture along with the cool helmet also pictured. The arm guard a.k.a a manica was usually made from leather, fabric or metal and metal shinguards called Ocrea.


Meaning "bearing two knives" in English, they carried two scimitar-like blade weapons called Siccaes that were most effective for slicing.

Very little is recorded about this type of Gladiator, but what is known is that these Gladiators would navigate their way around other Gladiators and slice at any weak spots that they found.

Their weapons aside, the armor they choose varied from what you see in the picture to wearing various kinds of light armor, to even wearing only a loincloth with only a sword holder over their shoulder.

These fighters moved like a snake just ready to strike, and their fitness and combat skills often made them quite popular with the audience.


Another cool looking Gladiator. This tough guy often was called a "parmulata" because of the smaller rectangular shield that it carried with it to the fights along with a Sica blade, a Thracian short-sword, which is also where the Thraex originated from.

The Thraex as you can see is meant to look like a Griffin, the mythical half-lion, half-eagle. Like his rival the Murmillo, he would wear the manica on his right arm and shinguards on the legs and up towards the groin.

I already mentioned his rival was the Murmillo, but also the Hoplomachus was one too.


Seen in the late Imperial period, this Gladiator was modeled after the Greek hoplites of old and usually were paired off against the Murmillio and Thraex.

These guys were more armed to the teeth than some of the other Gladiators. Equipped with a Dory spear, a Gladius and a dagger called a Pugio, this Gladiator could attack from long-range with the spear, medium-range with the sword, and up close with the dagger.

The armor these guys wore was a manica on their right arm made of either of cotton or metal, no chest armor as you can see, with a loincloth called a 'subligaculum" that had a belt, metal shinguards as seen in the picture, a helmet similar to that of the Murmillio and a small circular shield as seen in the picture called a parmula.

There are many more Gladiators listed on the web, so I could not cover them all. I promised to leave you all some websites, so here they are.

P.S. Why don't people tip me?

Johann Hollar
Johann Hollar
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Johann Hollar

Other than being single and still living with his mom and sister, I have attended Minnesota State University Mankato where I received my Bachelors in History with a Minor in Philosophy.

See all posts by Johann Hollar