Definition of a Praegenarii
What type of gladiator was
a Praegenarii? What was their purpose? What was their style of combat? And what type of gladiator was matched as their opponent?
Definition: The Praegenarii
was a 'mock gladiator' used as a fill-in act during intervals and
Opponent: The Praegenariigladiator only fought with other Praegenarii
Weapons: This type of gladiator fought with blunt
weapons - the wooden weapons called arma lusoria. Their purpose was
to amuse the crowd, not to kill each other. The Praegenarii
used a wooden sword called a rudis. But they would also use other
weapons used by the real gladiators such as the lasso and the net
Body Armor and helmet worn by this type of gladiator: The
Praegenarii were clowns. They adopted the body armor and helmets of
other gladiators but their sole purpose was to amuse the crowd. To
make the crowd laugh.
The types of men who were employed as
Praegenarii were often deformed in some way. Dwarves or people who
were missing limbs were seen. However other Praegenarii
specifically trained fighters who were able to provide a good
'warm-up' act to the main games.
The Praegenarii might also
have been involved in animal acts where trained animals performed
Special skills such as those of acrobats or
gymnasts might also have been employed as Praegenarii.
Clothing worn: Clothing associated with the
different types of gladiators or exaggerated clothing to create a
As the Praegenarii
entertained and amused the crowd they were accompanied by sound
effects or light hearted music using cymbals, trumpets and a water
It is possible that other
entertainment was provided involving walking a tightrope
from very high points above the arena. It was also possible
that a petaurum was also used to entertain the crowds. The petaurum appears to have been a board moving up and down,
with a person at each end, and supported in the middle - similar to our see-saw only it appears to have been
much longer. The petaurum machine, from which those who
exhibited were raised to a great height and then seemed to
fly to the ground. The persons, who took part in this game, were called Petauristae or Petauristarii.
These different types of entertainment provided spectacle
and danger and could often result in death.