Thracian - (Thrax, Curved Sword)
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.
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
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
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
- 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
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