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Gladiator Weapons

Gladiators were the sports stars of the Roman Empire. And just like football (or soccer if you are from the US) players,there were different types of gladiators, and they had their own favourite (and issued) weapons to add a bit of spice to the proceedings. Gladiator helmets (the wild symbol in Playtech´s gladiator slot machine) were essential in protecting fighters from this array of weapons.

There were many different classifications of gladiators in the ancient Roman world. Some -- like the Samnite -- took their names from feared enemies of the State- others, such as the Provacator and Secutor, were named following their main role in the arena, eg challenger and pursuer. Here are some of the weapons that gladiators used:

Gladius- The Sword From Which Gladiator's Were Named

Gladiator Weapons and Defence Tools

  • Fascina: a harpoon
  • Galea: a helmet with visor
  • Galerus: a metalic shoulder pad
  • Gladius: a sword
  • Hasta: lance
  • Iaculum: a net
  • Manicae: protective leather elbow or wrist bands
  • Parma: a rounded shield
  • Scutum: a large shield
  • Sica: a scimitar
  • Subligaculum: a cloth to cover the loins
Gladiator Weapons
Gladiator Weapons were imported from around the Roman Empire and its fringes- hence the huge variety. Add the fact that the Roman Empire was around for a long time, and you have an incredibly rich history.

There were around 30 different types of gladiator who specialised in different weapons, and had specific armour and shields. 

List of Gladiator Weapons

Arcus: Bow and Sagitta an arrow
Contus: (Pike or lance)
Acinaces: Single edged cavalry sword 
Fascina: Tridents, harpoons
Gladius: Sword
Gladius Graecus: Leaf shaped sword
Hasta: Spear for thrusting
Iaculum: Casting net 
Lancea: short javelin, or spear
Parmula: Small, light shield
Pilum: Long, heavy throwing spear
Plumbatae or martiobarbuli (lead-weighted darts)
Pompeianus: Sword
Pugnum: Small shield used for thrusting
Pugio: Dagger
Sagitta: Arrows
Semispathae: Half-swords
Sica: Short, curved sword or scimitar
Spatha: Long broadsword
Verutum: Short, light throwing spear
List of Gladiator Weapons

The Sica.
The sica was a short, curved sword, with a blade about 16-18 inches long - the most common sword from the region of Dacia. Often used used by a Thrax gladiator.

Fascina were long, three-pronged, meta harpoons used by Retiarii gladiators.

Gladius - Sword
The Gladius was a 70cm long short straight sword, wide at the handle, (the name is where the word gladiator comes from). Gladiators who fought with the gladius were usually armed with shields such as the secutor,  hoplomachus and the dimacheris.

Gladius Graecus
A leaf-shaped short sword used by the Greek hoplites, including the legendary fighters of Sparta. Also used by the Busturius and Hoplomachus gladiators.

A dagger, the last means of defence for Retiarii. The handle fit snugly in the hand, and the blade was either iron or bronze.

Pompeianus Sword
The Pompeianus had parallel cutting edges and a triangular tip.

Acinaces Sword
A single edged cavalry sword. 

The Spatha was a long sword, over 2 foot, used by the Roman cavalry Gladiators on horseback. 

Daggers or half-swords often used as a last resort

Hasta was a spear used for thrusting and around six feet long.

A short, javelin.

A Roman sling.

Venabulum or Menaulion
A 6ft long thick spear used for hunting (and fighting of course).

A heavy javelin around 2m long.

A short javelin.

Lead-weighted darts.

Sagitta) and Arcus.
Bows and arrows.

An infantry pike or lance. 

A heavy casting net - used by the retiarius