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An Interesting Thought...
#1
I was just thinking: Would the various campaigns that emperors launched have led to an influx of a certain gladiator type? For instance, Germanic warriors were fantastic spear fighters. Wouldn't they naturally become Hoplomachae? Wouldn't Trajan's Dacian wars have brought an influx of Thracian types (as Dacians used the sica)? It's a fair assumption that no Roman understood barbarian warriors like a Lanista. He would have supervised every aspect of his gladiators' lives, and would have understood different nations better than anyone. Wanting to play his fighters to their strengths and giving the crowd a good show (thereby making himself look good), the lanista would have played each warrior to what they knew best. I understand that, say, a really good retiarius in the city would have created a need for new secutors, but other than that, wouldn't a lanista assign warriors to the weapons they new best?

Thoughts?
Tyler

Undergrad student majoring in Social Studies Education with a specialty in world history.

"conare levissimus videri, hostes enimfortasse instrumentis indigeant"
(Try to look unimportant-the enemy might be low on ammunition).
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#2
I do not think so.
Maybe germanics were known to be good spear fighters, but the hoplomachus fights differently than a tribal germanic warrior within his horde would do.
Furthermore the gladiator types are fantasy products to deliver an entertaining show to the crowd.

I would rather categorize the different gladiators in certain fighting characters. For example the retiarius is purely offensive. His only way to victory is push forward and put pressure on the secutor. The secutor on the other hand can just fend off the retiarius attempts and wait for his to time come.
Now for this reason a lanista would appoint a rather wild and boisterous figther to become retiarus, or if he was an ugly fellow Thraex Wink The calm and reserved would become Secutor, so he could bear the jumping, teasing, attacking and feinting by the retiarius and only counter or charge in situations that were worth the effort.

Since I do not believe either character to be overrepresented in any nation or tribe, I do not think that the campaigns produced any significant change in numbers of a certain gladiator type.
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#3
In the beginning gladiator types were derived from the weaponry of the peoples the Romans have conquered, e.g. Samnites on the Italian peninsula, the Gauls and the Thracians. In the times of Augustus the gladiator types were reformed basically to have types promising crowd-pleasing fights who no longer had much to do with any military charackters.
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#4
I see. So a lanista would appoint gladiator types based on ludus needs, the temperment of the individual, and possibly size(?) ?
Tyler

Undergrad student majoring in Social Studies Education with a specialty in world history.

"conare levissimus videri, hostes enimfortasse instrumentis indigeant"
(Try to look unimportant-the enemy might be low on ammunition).
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#5
I would say he would appoint the new recruits subsequently after:

1. fighting character
2. looks
3. size

He wouldn't buy slaves, that do not fit the criteria for the types he currently needs.
The problem with the fighting character is, that it is hard to judge just by looking at a person.
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#6
Quote:I would say he would appoint the new recruits subsequently after:

1. fighting character
2. looks
3. size

He wouldn't buy slaves, that do not fit the criteria for the types he currently needs.
The problem with the fighting character is, that it is hard to judge just by looking at a person.

Unless you were a Retiarius one would say looks weren't too important a consideration as you would be helmeted for the duration of the bout.
Marc Byrne
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#7
Fighting character in slaves could be judged by how they reacted to slavery and on what grounds they had become slaves in the first place. A strong personality, a strong body and a willingness to survive shines through. A good lanista would certainly know what to look for in the humanity presented before him, or he would be a poor lanista who's fighters lost too often, voiding his investment. The survival and glory of a gladiator shone off on the school from which he came. If the basic quality is there, the handling of certain weapons and styles would be a matter of training. Personal excellence in a fighting style would lead to a definite choice. I presume gladiators were at first trained in different styles, till a style most fitting that individual was found and he progressed to perfect it.
Salvete et Valete

Nil volentibus arduum


Robert P. Wimmers
Archeologie Beleven!
>http://www.ferrumantica.eu  (The NEW Fabrica of Vvlpivs!)
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#8
Very interesting. Do ancient sources make any helpful comments about the qualities of gladiators?
Tyler

Undergrad student majoring in Social Studies Education with a specialty in world history.

"conare levissimus videri, hostes enimfortasse instrumentis indigeant"
(Try to look unimportant-the enemy might be low on ammunition).
Reply
#9
Quote:
Thorsten post=324267 Wrote:I would say he would appoint the new recruits subsequently after:

1. fighting character
2. looks
3. size

He wouldn't buy slaves, that do not fit the criteria for the types he currently needs.
The problem with the fighting character is, that it is hard to judge just by looking at a person.

Unless you were a Retiarius one would say looks weren't too important a consideration as you would be helmeted for the duration of the bout.

I hope the following picture explains better how I think it happened. It answers your criticism about the looks-part.

Of course I did not use all gladiator types. But I believe you could classify all by this scheme.

However I would change step 3 to "skills&size". It is easier to train a spear-affine man to become hoplomachus rather than Thraex.

Quote:Fighting character in slaves could be judged by how they reacted to slavery and on what grounds they had become slaves in the first place. A strong personality, a strong body and a willingness to survive shines through. A good lanista would certainly know what to look for in the humanity presented before him, or he would be a poor lanista who's fighters lost too often, voiding his investment.

This is not the point of the fighting character. These are the basics to arrive in the "slave pool" as I called it in the diagramm. Fighting character is rather describing the performance during the actual figthing; i.e. the Secutor taking a lot of beating by net and trident and only defending, before being able to do a move by himself. If the lanista choose somebody who easily gets angered, this person would open up his defense to run after a faster opponent with greater range. The outcome of this should be clear.


Quote:I presume gladiators were at first trained in different styles, till a style most fitting that individual was found and he progressed to perfect it.

The Carnutum experiment did it differently. They had basic fitness training for all types. Then they had basic fight training, for everybody togehter. Like wrestling, grappling and learning how to fall.

They did this every day and in the afternoon, the different weapons worked on their individiual skills. They worked with inter-type teams. So there would always be a retiarius training with a secutor, showing him his weaknesses and vice versa. In the arena however this secutor would never fight "his" retiarius. This achieved great fighting skills over a very short period of time.

If you train different weapons, especially when you just learn how to use them, you really get messed up. I know this, because next to gladitorial combat I do Messer-fencing and when I did one of them exclusively I know for sure that my measure and my movements do not work well for the other any more. Subsequently I take a good beating. This makes me believe that after a week or maybe two, within the ludus, you are appointed to your type and you stick to it. Let's keep in mind that the lanista, the doctore and the other were doing this kind of choosing and appointing as proffesionals on a regular basis. I don't know what you guys do for a job, but if you do something regularly, you develop an eye for certain things, other do not see or understand, wouldn't you agree ?


[attachment=5791]AuswahlschemaKmpfertyp.jpg[/attachment]


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#10
I would agree with most of your points but I would not go so far and take the looks of a fighter into the equation.
In Iconography the depictions of Retiarii are neither better nor worse than those of other Armatura depicted without helmets.
Also your Chart does not take account of other common Armaturae, like the Provocator, Essedarius, Arbelas and Eques.

There is a school of thought proposed by Eric Teyssier in France that proposes an advancement track of Gladiators:
They propose that all start out as Provocatores, then either advance to Scutarii or Parmularii and progress to Secutor or Retiarius respectively at the height of their advancement.
I do not agree with this view, as it ignores Armaturae like the Essedarii or Eques and also Iconography can be used to dispute this, but it does make a lot sense from a Trainers point of view.
Provocatores are a perfect Armatura to practise the handling of a weapon and shield combination useful for all Scutarii as well as Parmularii.
Even the Retiarius benefits by fighting in this Armatura first, as he learns the capabilities of his later opponent in this Armatura.
The basic training of all new recruits might have been conducted in this Armatura, which also mirrors the typical Legionary fighting style. The Pectoral would also provide a measure of protection in early sparring fights.
I agree that by such a basic training the Lannista and Doctores would judge the fighting character and skills of a recruit and would assign the final Armatura based on this.
One might also assume that Auctorati might have had some say concerning thier choice of Armaturae.
Obviously "market demand" will also have dictated the assigned Armaturae as well as the availability of the corresponding opponents for training and arena fights.
Olaf Küppers - Histotainment, Event und Promotion - Germany
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#11
Quote:In Iconography the depictions of Retiarii are neither better nor worse than those of other Armatura depicted without helmets.

Maybe, but in texts you always read about retiarii as the "beauties" in the arena. And I strongly believe, if you put up a show, where most of the participants wear masks, you will never ever appoint an ugly one to not wear one.


Quote:Also your Chart does not take account of other common Armaturae, like the Provocator, Essedarius, Arbelas and Eques.

As I said:

Quote:Of course I did not use all gladiator types. But I believe you could classify all by this scheme.
I just did not want to spend so much time one the graphic, so I left out some types. To categorize all, there would have to be a 3rd group in the first step, with both offensively and defensively strong types, like the provocatores.
And there is the exeption of the Eques, where obviously a riding skill would be mandatory to train them.


Quote:They propose that all start out as Provocatores, then either advance to Scutarii or Parmularii and progress to Secutor or Retiarius respectively at the height of their advancement.

I do not agree with this proposal at all, since the provocator fights, should be much more skilled and elaborate than the ones of secutor and murmillo. The provoatores have much longer swords, which allows them to do fencing moves. Not just charging and stabbing like murmillo or secutor with their little toothpics. The perfect even match also speaks for advanced fencing skills, that were needed to get around an opponent, that perfectly knew your strength and weaknesses, since he wore the same armatura.


Quote:Iconography can be used to dispute this, but it does make a lot sense from a Trainers point of view.
Provocatores are a perfect Armatura to practise the handling of a weapon and shield combination useful for all Scutarii as well as Parmularii.

I strongly disagree. As stated before, you can train many fighting skills, like footwork and the art of falling correctly. But training everybody as provocator is just plain stupid.
First of all you have so many provocators, you will never be able to get all of them into arena fights. Secondly you will train them maybe a year or even more in a armatura, they will later not use again. This is wasted time AND money.
The benefits of training in a beginner's armatura are not as high, as being traing in your later armatura pretty much from the start. Most of the basic training, like fitness and basic movements (i.e. footwork and art of falling) can be trained by everybody together.
Fürthermore, in Vegetius, we learn that legionary start their fight training on the palus. You train on the palus not to improve you hitting strength, but to get an eye for the measure and better accuracy. If you start out as provocator on the palus and later become a staff-weaponed armatura, you will have to go back to the palus and relearn measure and accuracy. This again is a loss in time and money, as well as it is pretty embaracing for an "older" gladiator to train with all the beginners, I would assume.


Quote:The basic training of all new recruits might have been conducted in this Armatura, which also mirrors the typical Legionary fighting style. The Pectoral would also provide a measure of protection in early sparring fights.

What would be the use of mirroring a legionar ?

I agree on extra protection provided by the pectorale. I assume it was worn because of the longer swords and the high level of fencing the provocatores were capabale of. If this extra protection was not there, their fights could be over within seconds since with a sword and shield it is rather easy to open a way to the chest.
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#12
Can you give one of those references that states that Retiarii are considered good looking?

Also where do you get the notion that Provocatores use longer swords?
Actually iconography very often shows them with rather short blades like the two 20cm bladed examples from Pompeii:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]_396582147
http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]
http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]
http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]

Or at least with blades that are not longer than contemporary Scutarii:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]
http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]

Actually only Republican and early Augustan iconography shows Gladiators with longer blades resembling Mainz type Gladii.
The reforms by Augustus seem to have introduced the 20cm and 30cm blades found in Pompeii.

You might have misunderstood me concerning the Provocator as a basic training Armatura.
I was not saying that all Gladiators started their arena career as Provocatores, like Teyssier does.
What I was getting at is that all Armaturae except the Retiarius use a sword and a shield, so the basic training in this weapon combination teaches the basic footwork as well as defensive and offensive moves used by all Armaturae.
Even the later Retiarius can get a feeling about the offensive and defensive capabilities of his Scutarius adversary in this way.

Still I do not propose that a Tiro trained in the basic sword and shield style of the Provocator would then also fight in this Armatura in the arena.
But pairing two recruits in this Armatura at the end of basic training would have been an excellent way of determining the respective affinity for offensive or defensive fighting as well as strength, agility and stamina.
After that the actual Armatura can be assigned to each Tiro and the advanced training in that Armatura can begin, after which the first fights at munerae would follow.

Of course this is all speculation based on our years of experience in training this fighting style, nothing of this can be actually proven as our only notion on Gladiatorial training are a few references concerning the training at the Palus.

You do also propose a basic training af all recruits to determine the future Armatura of a recruit, so how would this basic training be conducted in your opinion?

The interaction between Gladiatorial fighting styles and the military application of the sword and shield fighting style is shown by the use of Gladiators or Gladiatorial trainers in a military context since Republican times.
Gladiators where even employed in civil warfare, very often in special operations, as their close combat skills were highly valued, but they lacked the military drill and discipline of a regular Miles.

By the way I have trained and fought with a lot of weapons and weapon combinations over the last 15 years, Gladiatorial and otherwise, and I would very much dispute your claim that measure would have to be learned from scratch with each weapon.
Once you have developed a feeling for the reach of your own body, you only have to add the reach of the individual weapon to that. This can be learned quite fast for each new weapon.
According to iconography and our experience footwork seems to have been quite similar for all Armaturae.
Olaf Küppers - Histotainment, Event und Promotion - Germany
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#13
Fighting spirit, fearlessness and aggressiveness would have been the qualities sought by the ludus. Once those were determined, training was merited. Sources tell us of the lowest class of gladiators, the gregarii, who "fight under a standard." Presumably these would have been used in mass fights. Lanistae would have studied every man's behavior in these contests, to determine whether he was a promising fighter, worthy of the investment in time and training, or just a waste of rations.

As to looks, I recall seeing mention of a listing of gladiators by category and price. The highest prices went for "the beautiful ones."
Pecunia non olet
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#14
As trained Gladiators would normally not fight in groups but only in duels of the proper Armaturae, I would consider the Gregarii of the 177AD Senate order to be Noxii or Damnatii, condemned to die in the arena without proper training, hence the low cost.
There might have been instances where a survivor of such a mass battle could have been pardoned and start a Gladiatorial career, but the greater part of the Tirones or Gladiators recruits would either have been slaves bought by a Lannista, criminals being condemned ad Ludus or auctoratii, free citizens joining a Ludus. Of course the percentage of each group might have varied a lot during the centuries.
A true Gladiator would only have fought before spectators after he was thoroughly trained in his Armatura.

I only know of price lists taking into consideration the fighting rank of a Gladiator, so Iw ould be interested in the source of your price list.
Olaf Küppers - Histotainment, Event und Promotion - Germany
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