fighting techniques therefore varied from one gladiator to
allowed an element of 'Fair Play'
The pairing of gladiators
in the arenas were important and ironically the Romans
expected to see 'fair play' in gladiatorial combat. Matched
pairs of gladiators of would ensure that one fighter was
hampered by heavy armor whilst the other Gladiator had only
minimal armor which allowed freedom of movement.
Gladiator Techniques -
Common Combat Styles, Armor and Weapons
focussed on different fighting styles and weapons used by
specific types of gladiators. The majority of Gladiators
fell into two different types of fighters - lightly or
heavily armored. The gladiator techniques therefore varied
according to their armor, weapons and fighting techniques,
all of which are are described via the links on this page.
Lightly Armed Gladiator Techniques
The lightly armed Gladiator Techniques
were used by one of the most famous types of gladiators -
Retiarii (Net Fighters).
A Retiarius (pl. Retiarii meaning "net-man" or
"net-fighter") was a Roman gladiator who fought with
equipment styled on that of a fisherman. The Retiarius (Retiarii)
were lightly armored, wore no helmet, carried no shield so they had the advantage of agility, mobility
and speed. These factors were all taken into account when adopting
his combat technique. The Retiarius fought with the heavily
armed gladiators such as the Mirmillones. His fighting technique was evasive and
his tactics were to entangle his opponent with his net and then
skewer him as a fisherman with his trident.
Heavily Armed Gladiator Techniques
A heavily armed gladiator
like a Myrmillo (Murmillo) often fought with a Retiarius.
The Gladiator Techniques
of the Murmillo were very different from his opponent. This
type of gladiator fought with a sword (first the the gladius
which was eventually replaced by the Spatha). He wore armor
consisting of an Ocrea, or metal greave, on the
lower left leg and his right arm and wrist was protected by a manica of
tied linen or leather. The Murmillones carried a large,
rectangular, semi-cylindrical body shield called a scutum and wore a
helmet with a stylized fish on the crest (the mormylos or
sea fish). The helmet featured small eye-holes to prevent the
narrow prongs of the Retiarius' trident from penetrating to the eyes.
His fighting technique was to avoid
being entangled in the net and
his tactics were to barge his opponent with his shield and thrust
with his short sword.
Gladiator Techniques -
Specialised Combat Styles
There were also additional
gladiators who specialised in many different combat styles
and Gladiator Techniques. Some gladiators fought on
horseback, others from chariots. Other gladiators
specialised in fighting wild animals called
Bestiarii (Beast Fighters)
others specialised in
participating in wild animal hunts. Bows and arrows and
lances might be used together with a range of other weapons
all requiring different forms of gladiator techniques. For a
complete list click
for all of the different types of gladiators can be assessed
by understanding the weapons and armor used. His techniques
would also vary according to the armor and weapons of his