Heavily armored gladiators were well protected for the fights but restricted in his movements by his equipment. Lightly armed gladiators would have freedom of movement and speed during his fights but with little or to nothing to protect him. The gladiator fights, the styles and techniques therefore varied from one gladiator to another.
Lightly Armed Gladiator Fights
The gladiator fights of lightly armed men featured one of the most famous types of gladiators - the Retiarii (Net Fighters). A Retiarius was a Roman gladiator who fought with equipment styled on that of a fisherman. The Retiarii were lightly armored, wore no helmet, carried no shield so they had the advantage of agility, mobility and speed in a fight. These factors were all taken into account when adopting his fighting style and technique. The Retiarius fought with the heavily armed Roman gladiators such as the Mirmillones. His fighting style was evasive and his tactics were to entangle his opponent with his net and then skewer him, as a fisherman would, with his trident.
Heavily Armed Gladiator Fights
The gladiator fights of heavily armed gladiator like a Murmillo were often drawn against a Retiarius. The Murmillo fought with a sword (first the the gladius which was eventually replaced by the Spatha). This Roman Gladiator wore armor consisting of an Ocrea, or metal greave, on the lower left leg and his right arm was protected by a 'manica' of tied linen or leather. The Murmillones carried a large, rectangular, semi-cylindrical body shield called a scutum and wore a helmet with a stylized fish on the crest. The helmet featured small eye-holes to prevent the narrow prongs of the Retiarius' trident from penetrating to the eyes. His fighting technique was to avoid being entangled in the net and his tactics were to barge his opponent with his shield and thrust with his short sword. The Gladiator figts between such contrasting gladiators thrilled the spectators of the Roman Colosseum.
Gladiator Fights - Fighting Styles, Armor and Weapons
Gladiator fights and techniques focussed on different fighting styles and weapons which were used by specific types of Roman gladiators. The majority of Roman Gladiators fell into two different types of fighters - lightly armored or heavily armored men. Roman Gladiator fights and techniques therefore varied according to their different armor, weapons and fighting methods, all of which are are described in the following links:
Types of Heavily armed Gladiators
Types of Lightly armed Gladiators
Gladiator Fights - Specialised Combat Styles
There were also additional gladiators who specialised in many different styles leading to more varieties of Gladiator fights. Some gladiators fought on horseback, others from chariots. Other gladiators specialised in fighting wild animals called Bestiarii (Beast Fighters) others specialised in participating in wild animal hunts. Bows and arrows and lances might be used together with a range of other weapons all requiring different forms of gladiator fights. For a complete list click Types of Gladiators.
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