Roman Colosseum

'The Roman Colosseum'

History, Facts and Information about the Laquerarii
Gladiators were divided into different classes according to their weapons and fighting styles. There were strict rules and protocol surrounding the fights of gladiators. A gladiatorial fight would usually involve two gladiators but similar types of gladiators such as the Laquerarii, would not normally fight each other.

The first Roman Gladiators were prisoners of war and  used the weapons and equipment characteristic of their people. The early enemies of Rome included the Samnites, the Thracians and the Gauls (Gallus) and gladiators were named according to their ethnic roots.  This changed over the years and the names of the different types of gladiators reflected their combat techniques such as Secutores (chasers), Bestiarii (beast fighters) and Retiarius (net fighters). Gladiators were always clothed and armed to resemble barbarians with unusual and exotic weapons and their fights depicted famous victories over barbarians and the power of the Roman Empire.

Gladiator Weapons
Roman Gladiator Armor

History and Origins of the Laquerarii
The Romans enjoyed the spectacle of watching the fighting styles of their defeated enemies.  The Sagartians were an ancient Persian tribe known to use lassos in combat and it is possible that the Laquerarii originated from these warriors. However, it is more likely that the idea originated from using the lasso as a hunting weapon. The lasso was widely used in Egypt and a relief carving at the Egyptian temple of Pharoah Seti Ibuilt c.1280 BC, show the pharaoh Seti using a lasso to capture wild animals. There is no doubt that the lasso was used to capture many of the wild animals displayed, and then slaughtered, in the Colosseum. This weapon was used by the gladiators called Venatores (Wild Animal Hunters)fighting against exotic, wild animals. It is probable that a Roman official at the Colosseum, keen to introduce more novelty acts, came up with the idea of also hunting men with a lasso. An alternative gladiator to the Retiarii (Net Fighters).

Definition of a Laquerarii - Weapons, Armor, Fighting Styles and Opponents
What type of gladiator was a Laquerarii? What weapons and armor did they use? What was their style of combat? And what type of gladiator was matched as their opponent?

  • Definition: The Laquerarii (Laquerarius - "Noose-Snare" or "Snarer") was a gladiator who fought with a lasso (laqueus) in one hand and a dagger or sword or spear in the other. The Laquerarius would first snare and then kill his opponent. The Roman lasso was made of leather or extremely strong rope

  • The Laquerarii (Laquerarius) were lightly armored so they had the advantage of agility, mobility and speed. The Body Armor worn by this type of gladiator was minimal - he wore no helmet or body armor other than  a "Galerus" a distinctive metal shoulder guard fashioned so that the neck and head were protected but the head movements of the Laquerarii were unrestricted. 

  • Opponent: This type of gladiator  fought with the heavily armed gladiators such as the secutor or a mirmillo

  • Weapons: This type of gladiator fought with a lasso (laqueus) in one hand and a dagger with a slim square or triangular blade or a spear called a hasta which was not thrown but used for thrusting and approximately six feet in length

  • The lasso (laqueus) was fastened to the wrist of the gladiator with a separate thread to make retrieval easier

  • The Latin word 'Iaculum' was a generic term for all weapons to be flung at the enemy, such as nets, lassos, javelins and slings

  • Shield: None

  • Clothing worn: Canvas Loin Cloth (subligaculum) worn in a variety of colors, sandals or barefoot

Laquerarii - Matched Pairs
Combats between similarly armored gladiators would demonstrate superior skills when gladiators were fighting against equally armed opponents. However, contrasting types of fighters were also carefully selected in order to achieve a reasonably fair pairing. Matched pairs of gladiators of would ensure that one fighter was hampered by heavy armor whilst the other was lightly armed. One gladiator might have freedom of movement but with little to nothing to protect him, whereas the other gladiator might be more heavily armed and protected but restricted in his movements by his equipment. There were therefore many different types of gladiator, including the Laquerarii, who specialised in using specific weapons, armor and shields.

Roman Colosseum

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