Monday, 11 December 2017


Few gladiators survived more than ten matches. The average age of those killed in the arena was 28. The person who presided over the games was called the editor. He could be the emperor, a senator, or other political figure and made the final decision about the fate of the gladiators in the arena.

To make sure the loser wasn’t pretending to be dead, an attendant dressed as Mercury would touch him with a hot iron wand. If they were still alive, another attendant, dressed as Charon, would hit him with a mallet.
If a gladiator repeatedly survived the arena and lived long enough to retire, they were given a symbolic wooden training sword, or rudis, as a token of their freedom.

Even when they had won their freedom, the lucrative life of the gladiator still appealed: rudiarii were gladiators who had won their freedom but chose to remain fighting in the arena.

Gladius, an early ancient Roman sword
There were many types of gladiators and each specialized in different weapons. It was usual to pair off combatants with widely different, but more or less equivalent, equipment. Studies have shown that gladiators fought to strict rules and barefooted. During combat musicians performed accompaniment that altered tempo to match that of the combat.
From left, a disarmed and surrendering retiarius and his secutor opponent, a thraex and murmillo, a hoplhus and murmillo (who is signalling his surrender), and the referee.

Roman Gladiator Dagger

Four-pointed dagger

Roman soldiers were taught to deploy the gladius horizontally, piercing the enemy's ribs and penetrating vital organs.

Roman iron gladiator trident.

Gladiator Arm Guard

Greaves (leg protectors) and dagger discovered at Pompeii's gladiator barracks.

Pair of bronze greaves from the Gladiators' Barracks in Pompeii.

Helmet of a murmillo.