History, Facts and Information about the Dimachaerus (aka Dimahaeri)
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 Dimachaerus, 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.
Roman Gladiator Armor
Definition of a Dimachaerus - Weapons, Armor, Fighting Styles and Opponents
What type of gladiator was a Dimachaerus or Dimachaeri? 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 Dimachaerus, or Dimachaeri, was so called, because they fought with two swords. The word derived from a Greek word meaning 'bearing two swords'.
Opponent: There is limited info regarding the opponents of this type of gladiator, but a heavily protected and armored gladiator such as the Murmillo or Hoplomachus would make good opponents
Weapons: This type of gladiator fought with two curved swords (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 Thrax (Thracian) gladiator and the Dimachaerus. The gladius and acinaces sword was also used by the Dimachaeri
Other gladiators who used the gladius were those who were armed with body-shields such as the secutor, myrmillo, hoplomachus and the dimacheris.
Body Armor and helmet worn by this type of gladiator: A light, visored helmet fitting tightly to the head. Light armor in the form of arm and leg protectors made of leather wrappings
Clothing worn: Canvas Loin Cloth (subligaculum) worn in a variety of colors, sandals or barefoot
Dimachaerus - 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 Dimachaerus, who specialised in using specific weapons, armor and shields.
The Role of the Dimachaeri
The role of the Dimachaerus would have required great skills and the ability to wield a sword with both the left and right hands. The Dimachaeri would have provided a great show of skill for the spectators. The TV mini series called "Empire" about the rise of Octavius who became the first Roman Emperor Augustus Caesar strongly featured a gladiator called Tyrannus, played by actor Jonathan Cake, who played the role of a Dimachaerus.
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