Roman Colosseum

'The Roman Colosseum'

History, Facts and Information about the Sagittarius
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 Sagittarius, 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. Sagittarii were auxiliary archers who fought on horseback. The auxiliary troops in the Roman army consisted of foreign allies. The word Sagittarius in Latin literally means an archer (sagitta means an arrow and Arcus means a bow).

Gladiator Weapons
Roman Gladiator Armor

Definition of a Sagittarius - Weapons, Armor, Fighting Styles and Opponents
What type of gladiator was a Sagittarius? 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 Sagittarius was a type of Roman gladiator who fought with a bow and arrows on horseback
  • Opponent: This type of gladiator was a speciality act. The Sagittarius took part in mock battles reflecting the victories of Rome against noxii gladiators who had little chance of winning.

  • The Sagittarius were paid well to appear in the arena. They had to be trusted as spectators would have been in danger of being killed.

  • They most likely appeared and billed as great animal hunters

  • The display of exotic wild animals were an important part of the games. The wild animals appeared in order to replicate hunting exploits. The types of animals used for these hunting shows were wild boar, bulls, bears deer, stags, dogs, wolves, goats and antelopes. See Wild Animals at the Colosseum

  • The Emperors Domitian and Commodus were expert archers. Emperors joined in these events, shooting animals using a bow and arrows, from the safety of their Imperial Box 

  • Weapons: This type of gladiator used short, curved bows of Parthian origins

  • Body Armor and helmet worn by this type of gladiator: They wore scaled armour and pointed helmets

  • Shield: None

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

Roman Colosseum

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