Roman Colosseum

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History, Facts and Information about the Thracian
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 Thracian, 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. The Thracian gladiators were so named because they resembled fighters from Thrace which was a region of northern Greece and one of the earliest enemies of Rome.

Gladiator Weapons
Roman Gladiator Armor

Definition of a Thracian - Weapons, Armor, Fighting Styles and Opponents
What type of gladiator was a Thracian? 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 Thracian was a lightly armed Roman gladiator
  • Opponent: This type of gladiator fought with the Murmillones and the Hoplomachi.

  • Weapons: This type of gladiator fought with a curved sword (siccae). The sica, or siccae, was a curved scimitar, a short, curved sword, with a blade about 16-18 inches long commonly used by both the Thracian gladiator and the Dimachaerus This was a strong slashing weapon

  • The helmet of the Thracian had a tall crest (crista) with a distinctive griffin. The helmet had a wide brim and a visor to cover the face. Feathers were also used to decorate his helmet

  • Body Armor worn by this type of gladiator: The Thracian wore a manica of tied linen or leather to protect his sword arm. He also had padded leg protection over which he wore a pair of high greaves which ended above his upper thigh

  • Shield: A circular or quadrangular small shield (parmula)

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

Thracian - 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 Thracian, who specialised in using specific weapons, armor and shields.

Roman Colosseum

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