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Osprey Gladiators - Wisdom/McBride
#31
> We'll never know until an actual segmented manica is found.<br>
<br>
I take it you mean a demonstrably gladiatorial one? ;-) We have military ones coming out of our ears these days!<br>
<br>
Mike Bishop <p></p><i></i>
You know my method. It is founded upon the observance of trifles

Blogging, tweeting, and mapping Hadrian\'s Wall... because it\'s there
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#32
What are the chances of finding a fabric one ? Does cloth survive well in general ?<br>
<br>
I suppose they would have had dual purpose ... against shield clash and sharp objects.<br>
<br>
On another point the Zliten mosaic shows "Provocatores" with massive horse hair crests rather than the double feathers usually shown. As all the other players on the mosaic conform to the norm has anyone got an opionion on this ? <p></p><i></i>
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#33
Junkelmann states that this is the only representation of provocatores showing any kind of cresting to the helmet, paired feathers being more usual although sometimes no feathers are shown. Perhaps this was a regional variant, although all the other gladiators are of conventional types. <p></p><i></i>
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#34
Does anyone know where I can source a full image of this mosaic as the images I have seen so far only show the clear bits ?<br>
<br>
In the museum in Naples there is what appear to be a bent over shield. This looks a bit bigger then the one shown as Hoplomachus. Anyone got any info on its use ?<br>
<br>
Regards<br>
<br>
Conal <p></p><i></i>
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#35
Hi Conal,<br>
<br>
Nice to hear of another gladiator fan.<br>
<br>
The Zliten mosaic is interesting because it shows so many different gladiator<br>
types in one image. I do not know of any on-line source for an image of the<br>
complete mosaic. The reason that "only the clear bits" are normally shown<br>
is because the rest of the mosaic is either not relevant (as well as gladiator<br>
fights, it shows executions and a very badly damaged "venatio" scene) or it<br>
is too badly crumbled to give any useful information. The arena scenes<br>
appear only around the margins. The centre of the mosaic has tableaux of<br>
fishes and abstract designs on it.<br>
Of the gladiatorial figures, two fighting pairs are almost completely lost. The<br>
remainder are well preserved and it is images of these, along with the musicians<br>
(there are two groups of musicians on the mosaic), which are normally shown<br>
and which are readily available from several popular sources. The mosaic shows<br>
ten fighting pairs: On the northern side: eques vs eques, retiarius vs secutor,<br>
thraex vs myrmillo, hoplomachus vs myrmillo, provocator vs provocator.<br>
On the southern side: retiarius vs secutor, essedarius vs essedarius, thraex<br>
vs myrmillo, hoplomachus vs myrmillo, retiarius vs secutor. Of the last two<br>
pairs, only the left side and legs of the hoplomachus and the legs of the<br>
secutor survive, the rest has totally crumbled away<br>
<br>
On the Zliten mosaic one pair is identified as provocatores because they are both<br>
"scutarii" and because they wear helmets different to the wide rimmed ones worn<br>
by all the other gladiators on the mosaic. These two wear what look like close<br>
fitting vizored helmets. Indeed they have central crests, drawn in a somewhat<br>
idiosyncratic style. They look almost like "wind socks" but are most likely<br>
feathers. The pose of the figures and the cover of their big shields prevents us<br>
seeing if they wear little breastplates or not. There is some scanty evidence<br>
that provocatores fought myrmillones on occasion, but the two guys here do<br>
seem most likely to be provocatores. This is all of course dependent on the<br>
correctness of our assumption that myrmillones always wore those big wide<br>
helmets, when they were still in fashion, and provocatores wore closer fitting<br>
ones.<br>
Interestingly, in the same mosaic, many of the other guys wear upright<br>
feathers only (there are shown essedarii and equites like this) and others<br>
wear helmets with both a central crest and upright feathers.<br>
With no other evidence I think all you can do is be interested in the fact that<br>
(in at least Libya in the 2nd century) provocatores wore central hair crests and<br>
not just the usual upright feathers. I reckon it's either a "regional variation" or<br>
else valuable evidence of a common practise that hasn't otherwise survived.<br>
<br>
As regards arm-guards. It seems likely that these were primarily for protection<br>
against attacks. The fact that exactly the same construction appears to be<br>
used by men who do not carry shields (ie. retiarii, scissores) seems to suggest<br>
this. That they would also protect the forearm from hitting the edges of shields<br>
is also undeniable. Some of the coloured images of gladiators that are still extant<br>
indicate, both from colour and from shape, very strongly that these defences<br>
are indeed of fabric or some other non-metallic substance. Whether these were<br>
wrappings or bandages or actual padded sleeves is not known. A satire of<br>
Juvenal (Saturae, VI, 263) explicitly mentions "wrappings" around gladiators'<br>
limbs and likens them to tree trunks (literally "tree bark"): "quam denso fascia<br>
libro" (the word "fascia" in general means "something wrapped around". Bandages<br>
are fasciae as are baby's swaddling clothes etc).<br>
I am not aware of any fabric armours that survive from Roman times, but they<br>
are known from medieval contexts. Padded fabric (remember that this would<br>
most likely be quilted and packed hard with straw, or rags or something similar)<br>
would save you well enough from getting cut, and would save you from getting<br>
"casually" jabbed but wouldn't save you from a determined, powerful and well<br>
angled assault. Same I think can be said for most armours. But given that in<br>
a fight it is hard enough to even hit a moving opponent who is strenuously<br>
defending himself and trying to hit you back it seems likely that fabric arm-guards<br>
would have done the job well enough in protecting you from the worst effects<br>
of stray hits to the arm. As well as the fabric (?) ones, other gladiators are<br>
shown wearing what are very clearly metallic arm guards.<br>
Why not make a fabric one for yourself and try it out? Busted arms heal in<br>
a few weeks and they can do wonders with re-attaching severed limbs<br>
nowadays.<br>
<br>
I look forward, though, to getting more information on the military arm-guards<br>
that are now becoming more well known. Perhaps the incidental protection from<br>
striking the edges of shields was actually better known among soldiers<br>
than was previously thought? Maybe they got the idea from watching gladiators?<br>
Sorry, I'm sounding like Marcus Junkelmann there...<br>
<br>
Have fun<br>
<br>
Susan<br>
<br>
<p></p><i></i>
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#36
Suzy:<br>
Using an excellent reproduction of the Zliten gladiators from a Time-Life book, I've blown it up on an enlarger to look for detail. On the left-hand provocator, you can just see the lower right corner of a square breastplate peeking from behind his shield. On the right-hand figure, the cross-straps and buckle of a breastplate are quite clearly visible. Both figures wear a single greave of the intermediate type - it covers the kneecap but is not the lower thigh like the Thracian-hoplomachus type. The intermediate type seems to have been worn only by the provocator. The crests are almost certainly feathers. The helmets look almost like late-madieval armets or close-helms; very odd, but gladiatorial helmets had an exaggerated, bizarre aspect by this time anyway.<br>
And there are lots of gladiator buffs out there. I've researched the subject for several decades, although it's only been in recent years that much information has been available in English. I'd love to visit the mosaic and see it close-up, but until Mr. Ghadaffi steps down for someone less anti-American, I'll give it a pass. <p></p><i></i>
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#37
Hi Suzy & John,<br>
<br>
Considering the accuracy of the other Gladiators are we talking about a helmet not yet attested to in archeology or just an odd rendering by the tiler ?<br>
<br>
I can imagine that the Provocator helmets we know would look spectacular with a feather crest of the type illustrated.<br>
<br>
Regards<br>
<br>
<br>
Conal<br>
<br>
<br>
<br>
<p></p><i></i>
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#38
<br>
John has seen enlarged pictures of the mosaic, maybe he can give a verdict. I only have "standard" reproductions to go on. To me they do not look too dissimilar to the known (or supposed) provocator helmets.<br>
Junkelmann has photos of black feather crests on reconstructed thraex and hoplomachus helmets.<br>
I agree that they look spectacular!<br>
<br>
Sue <p></p><i></i>
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#39
Hi Suzy & John,<br>
<br>
<br>
I have the Junkelmann book ... i have no German and Bable Fish takes sooooo long, so it is a very nice picture book for the moment .. but the pictures are GREAT !!!<br>
<br>
You guys may be able to help me on the Hoplomachus sheild. The Juckelmann reconstructions use the very small hoplon found at Pompeii but there are a lot of mosaics, paintings & figurines which show this as a bit larger and shaped more like half a hollow sphere. This is particularily so in the Zliten mosaic.<br>
<br>
I know that the length of the spear offsets the tiny shield somewhat but I cannot help thinking that the small shield may not represent those shown in art. What do you guys think ?<br>
<br>
Regards<br>
<br>
<br>
Conal<br>
<br>
<br>
<br>
<p></p><i></i>
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#40
Suzy:<br>
My blowup shows helmets roughly Pompeii/provocator in shape but no sign of the characteristic brow reinforce. Visor detail is sketchy but the helms seem roughly spherical, which may be an exaggerration. The crest boxes appear to be metal and permanently affixed, as on the thraex and murmillo helms, topped with very bushy feathers that appear greenish in most color repros I've seen.<br>
Conal:<br>
I'm with you on the shield. I think it's an equites shield. In art, the hoplomachus shield is usually the "salad-bowl" style, very deeply convex. I used to think this was strictly an arena shield since I'd neverseen the design elsewhere, but in the Osprey "Republican Roman Army" book, on p. 43, there is a photo of the base of a momnument said to have been erected to a consul of 29, featuring trophies of arms. The middle shield is a hoplo salad bowl, so maybe it saw military use as well. Most depictions suggest a center grip, but the hoplomachus on the Umbricius Scaurus monument from Pompeii shows a rare inner view, and the gladiator is gripping it at the rim like a Greek hoplon (I have issues with details of this monument, which is known only from 18th century drawings, but that's a subject for another thread.) <p></p><i></i>
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#41
Hello,<br>
<br>
I agree too about those shields. The "semi-globe" appears far too regularly and deliberately in images of hoplomachoi to be able to ignore it or explain it away. I have commonly seen it passed off as "the artists inability to portray a shallow dished shield", for example; which I don't buy. I think the thing that finally convinced me was the priapic sculpture of the gladiator from Pompeii who has apparently deliberately been sculpted carrying a semi-globular "salad bowl".<br>
<br>
Susan <p></p><i></i>
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#42
John,<br>
<br>
You say a metal crest box and then feathers ? I had assumed a close box attatchment with a high horse crest.<br>
<br>
How much of the crest is box and how much feather ?<br>
<br>
I recall seeing a copy of part of the Zliten Mosaic at the British Museum exhibition last year. I will check my book tonight & see if I recall correctly. I just wonder if someone has copied that bit then they may have done the lot !!??<br>
<br>
Regards<br>
<br>
Conal<br>
<br>
<br>
<p></p><i></i>
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#43
Conal:<br>
The crest boxes appear to be flush with the skull of the helmets at all points, just like the permanent boxes on the Thraex and Murmillo helmets. There is no sign visible of a military-style attachment for a removable box. (some late cavalry helms also had permanent crest boxes, though not as high) On my blowup the box is 1cm high, and the feathers are 2 1/2 cm - yes, the feathers are fully five times the hight of the already prominent crest box. The detail definitely looks like feathers, not horsehair. Hair is not entirely out of the question, but it would be hard to make hair that long stand up. These guys fought tricked out like Las Vegas showgirls. <p></p><i></i>
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#44
Oops. I meant to write that the crest boxes measure 1/2cm on the blowup. <p></p><i></i>
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#45
Suzy, John.<br>
<br>
What are your views on the "sica" ? I may blaspheming again but I am not sure regarding the bent blade in the Junkelmann book.<br>
<br>
Regards<br>
<br>
<br>
Conal <p></p><i></i>
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