History, Facts and Information about the Venatores
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 gladiators such as the Venatores, only hunted animals. 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
The Venationes - Hunting Shows
The Venatores fought in Venationes, or hunting shows, which were shown in a variety of different formats. Herds of wild animals were let loose into the arena and were slaughtered by the Venatores who specialised in archery and with the use of the spear. Emperors who wanted to demonstrate their hunting prowess and safely participate in the shows would join in this type of hunt. The venatores would hunt on foot or on horseback.
The Venationes Gladiator School - the Ludus Matutinus
The Venatores were trained at a special gladiator training school called the Ludus Matutinus. Ludus Matutinus means 'morning school' in Latin and was so called as the beast shows (Venationes) were scheduled as morning events at the Roman Colosseum. The Ludus Matutinus, or 'morning school', was established by the Emperor Domitian who was himself a great hunter.
Definition of a Venatores - Weapons, Armor, Fighting Styles and Opponents
What type of gladiator was a Venatores? What weapons and armor did they use? What was their style of combat?
Definition: The Venatores were types of Roman gladiators who specialised in hunting wild animals at Venationes, or hunting shows. They also worked with trained animals who performed circus tricks
Many of the great wild animals from Africa and Asia such as elephants, lions and tigers were hunted to the point of extinction by the Venatores
Weapons: This type of gladiator used a variety of weapons such as the Venabulum which was a 6ft long thick wooden spear reinforced with long, winged head with an iron point and bows and arrows. Other Roman weapons which might have been used by the Venatores included the Plumbatae or martiobarbuli which were lead-weighted darts. The pilum (plural pila) which was a heavy javelin, or throwing spear, approximately two meters long with a pyramidal head. A rumex which was a kind of javelin or hunting-spear. A mesancylum which was a javelin with a thong for throwing
Clothing worn: Canvas Loin Cloth (subligaculum) worn in a variety of colors, sandals or barefoot
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