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Sunday, June 13, 2021

10 Type of Gladiators – Part 1

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1. Andabata:

Blindfolded and tossed into the arena, these types of gladiators did not last long. Armed with a gladius, a scutum and a helmet, relying solely on instinct and their senses, they were a comedic act on the brutality the slaves faced for amusement.

2. Bestiarius:

Bestiarii were gladiators that faced wild and usually exotic beasts in the arenas for fortune and glory. Some were specifically trained in bestiarorum or gladiatorial schools. There they learnt how one could face the plethora of beasts residing in the arenas. Armed with a round bronze shield, a spear or a whip and a helmet, these types of gladiators would either make quite a fortune in a short amount of time, or be dinner for a hungry beast; either way they were an outstanding act of showmanship for the audience.

3. Bustuarius:

Their name meant gladiators that fought in tombs. These were considered the lowest class of gladiators. They generally fought with nothing more than a spear and were adorned in cloth, penned against each other in the funeral games, or munera.

4. Cestus:

Driven out bare naked in front of the cheering audience, they faced humiliation due to the shape of their bodies and genitalia or lack of thereof, they were essentially fist fighters or boxers armed with a caestus, which was a type of battle or boxing gloves made out of leather straps. Sometimes these gloves had protruding spikes that would come out once the gladiator had his fists clenched.

5. Crupellarius:

Gladiators originating from Gaul were heavily outfitted in iron from head to toe. Their helmet resembled a bucket similar to that later used in the Middle Ages known as a great helm and equipped with a gladius alongside a smaller scutum. They were described as lumbering giants of iron, proficient in inflicting wounds, yet receiving none it return.

6. Dimachaerus:

Not a lot is written about these gladiators in history. We just know that the used to fight with two knives or swords in each hand and were armed with siccae, curved swords or a pair of gladius swords. Sources as to what they wore depict all kinds of armor: scale, mail, greaves, leg wrappings, leather strips or nothing at all.

7. Eques:

Cavalrymen or Eques, were gladiators sat upon a horse fighting only other equites in the arena. Armed with a gladius and spear, clad in scale armor, a helmet with two decorating feathers and a medium sized parma was the outfit of these gladiators. The thundering of hooves leaving a dust storm behind was a privilege to be seen. The audience was excited during their fighting; therefore, the Eques as such were among the most treasured gladiators fighting in the pits.

8. Essedarius:

Charioteers were usually the lengthiest fights in the arenas, as for the defeat of one side. The combatants needed to destroy the chariot of the other team and even then, a combat on a horseback was possible to happen. These gladiators were armed with a gladius or a spear. They are rarely depicted to carry shields but when they did wear them indeed, they were adorned in bronze armor and encompassed a visored helmetas well.

9. Gladiatrix:

Literally meaning female gladiators, they provided the most exotic fights in the arenas. Fighting in any gladiatorial style, adorned in every weapon or armor, they were essentially nothing more than an alternative to the male dominated blood sports.

10. Hoplomachus:

Derived from the Greek word describing an armed fighter, they were gladiators equipped with a quilted, trouser-like leg wrapping, loincloth, a pair of shin-guards, a manica or an arm guard that wielded a spear thrown at the start of the fight, the gladius and a buckler for deflecting blows. The most amazing thing was that they wore a brimmed helmet with a plume of feathers on the top and a single feather on each side.

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