For other types of gladiators, see Gladiator genera .
Equipment and armament
In contrast to the other gladiator types, the equipment and armament of the Retiarius had no resemblance to military models. Rather, it is reminiscent of deep sea fishing. The retiarius was only lightly armed. He carried a trident (tridens or fuscina), a throwing net (rete) and a straight-bladed short sword or dagger. His only protection was hand and arm protection on the left arm ( manica ) with a metal shield ( galerus ) on the shoulder. He was dressed in a loincloth ( subligaculum ) and a belt ( balteus or cingulum ).
The trident was the retiarius' main weapon. The design is always angular and has an undecorated, straight crossbar. In most depictions, the shaft is a little longer than the fighter. There is only one single find identified as a gladiator's weapon (Zaghreb, Croatia - undated). Finds are often incorrectly assigned to a gladiator's trident. All finds with uneven tips and additional crossbars were identified as banner tips of the Roman Legion, finds with barbs at the tips and round crossbars as trident from the fishery.
- (Throwing) net
The retiarius used a knotted net with a diameter of approx. 3 m, weighed down at the edge by thick rope or lead weights. The net could be square or round. Sometimes it was also called "Iaculator" (thrower) because of the net that was thrown.
- Special weapon four-pointed dagger
A grave relief (grave relief of SkirtosTomis, Romania 200 - 250 AD) and traces of wounds on a thigh bone from the gladiator's grave in Ephesus indicate a melee weapon with four points, which was used in addition to the gladius. No other sources are known so far and precise conclusions about the use of this weapon cannot be drawn.
- Tunica (rare)
Juvenal and others mention fighting auctoratii (non-slaves, fighting voluntarily) as Retiarius tunicata. Individual images also show retired men in tunic. The reasons for this are so far unclear. Possibly nobles fighting as retiarius covered their bodies in this way.
The exact origin of the retiarius is not known. There are currently three theses.
- Naumachia. Naumachia were simulated sea battles. The exact equipment of the fighters is unknown, but the use of trident is possible. Perhaps this was so popular that it was used to develop its own mixer. There are no primary sources for this thesis.
- Reenactment of the duel between Pittakos and Phrynon. In 606 BC Pittakos, one of the seven Greek sages, fought as a military leader of the Mytilenians against Phrynon of Athens. Representing a field battle, a duel was fought in which Pittakos caught his opponent with a net and then killed. The details of the fight vary. The net was sometimes hidden behind a shield, sometimes he fought with a net, trident and sword. The Romans knew this story and perhaps it inspired the retiarius's equipment. Only secondary text sources are known, no images.
- Pontiarius. 332 BC BC Alexander the Great besieged and conquered the Phoenician port city of Tire, which was situated on an island. During the siege, the Macedonians had to build a narrow dam and were attacked by the defenders with nets and tridents from the city walls. The battle for a pons, an elevated bridge, could have recreated this important historical event known to the Romans.
The first representation is the Chrysippus chalice, found in Lyon, France and dating back to 30 BC. Dated. This earliest portrait shows fighters with clearly military-inspired equipment. He wears an Attic-Boeotian helmet, chain mail and greaves. A rope allows him to retrieve the thrown trident. All of this corresponds most closely to an actor's portrayal of the siege, rather than a balanced sports fight.
The retiarius fought first against the murmillo and less often against the essedarius . From the middle of the 1st century AD, however, he specialized in the secutor as an opponent. Occasionally there were also fights against the scissor .
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