| View Cart ⇗ | Info

This illustration shows various types of gladiators, each type with with his specific weapons attributed to him. Gladiators were swordsmen whose profession was to fight for the public amusement. Gladiators are said to have been borrowed by Rome from the Etruscans. They were first exhibited in Rome in 246 BC, primarily at funerals, but afterwards at festivals, particularly those celebrated by the aediles and other magistrates. More than ten thousand were shown at Trajan’s triumph over the Dacians. They were either free-born citizens, usually of a low class, who fought for hire, or captives, slaves, or malefactors, and were kept in schools, where they were carefully trained. Chief varieties were Andabatae, who wore helmets with no openings for the eyes, so that their blindfold movements provoked the spectators’ mirth; Mirmillones, who used Gallic weapons, sword and shield; Retiarii, who carried a net and a three-pronged lance -- the net to entangle their opponents; and Thraces, who, like the Thracians, used a short sword and a round buckler. When a gladiator was severely wounded and defeated, the people cried out ‘Habet’ (He has it), and he lowered his arms; then, if the spectators wished his life to be spared, they turned their thumbs down; but it they desired his death, they turned them up. These combats were often attended by great cruelty and callousness on the part of the spectators; sometimes they were fights à outrance, none being spared alive. Discharged gladiators were presented with a rudis, or wooden sword, and hence were called rudiarii. Gladiatorial combats were disliked by the Greeks, and practically never took place in Greek cities.


TIFF (full resolution)

2969×1807, 1.4 MiB

Large GIF

1024×623, 132.7 KiB

Medium GIF

640×389, 70.7 KiB

Small GIF

320×194, 23.8 KiB