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Provocatores

Roman Colosseum

'The Roman Colosseum'

History, Facts and Information about the Provocatores
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 Provocatores, 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

Definition of a Provocatores - Weapons, Armor, Fighting Styles and Opponents
What type of gladiator was a Provocatores? 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 Provocatores (meaning 'challenger') were a type of Roman gladiator who 'challenged' other Provocatores in combat

  • Opponent: This type of gladiator only fought with another Provocator

  • Helmet - The Provocatores were recognisable by their armor and weapons and easily distinguished by a helmet without crest called a Provocator Galea (helmet) and he was the only gladiator to have effective protection for the upper body in the form of a rectangular breastplate

  • Weapons: This type of gladiator fought with a sword (the gladius)

  • Body Armor and helmet worn by this type of gladiator: A Spongia was a small chest plate formed of a single piece of metal, or other rigid material, which covered the chest of the gladiator. He wore an Ocrea, or metal greave, on the lower left leg. His right arm and wrist was protected by a manica of tied linen or leather

  • Shield: They used the scutum, a rectangular, semi-cylindrical body shield

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

Roman Colosseum
Gladiators

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