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Scissor Questions
#1
Avete Gladiatores,

I've recently taken an interest in the Scissor gladiator. I've scoured both RAT and the Internet for all of the information that I can find about this enigma. However, as with much of our passion, much is left to speculation. As such, I was hoping that you much more knowledgeable historians could help me with what I cannot find, and work our way through theories. Please forgive my enthusiasm. I'm relatively new to Roman history, and when I find a topic that excites me, I throw myself into it. Many thanks. Here are my questions:

1). Do we have a general timeframe for this gladiator?

2). Based on archaeological evidence, the scissor appears to be a sub-division of the Secutor school. Would it be absurd to theorize that due to the necessary aggression, agility, and endurance, the scissor could be considered an "elite" (I use this term very loosely) Secutor?

3). These gladiators seem to appear only in the East. Could it be that this was due to places like the Ephesian's appetite for unique attraction, or was this a new form of gladiator that was making its way to the mainstream (like the retiarius and Secutor in the first century)?
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 checked my books of Marcus Junkelmann, Eric Teyssier and Dario Battaglia in order to answer your questions as good as possible:

Teyssier mentions an inscription from Vesona in Apulia, Italia (CIL 09, 00466) where the scissor is listed among ten gladiator types. Unfortunately he does not state the date of this inscription (unfortunately my search for it online was in vain). But at least this is from Italia.

Also Teyssier only shows a photo of a fragment of a relief from Bucuresti where the strange knife is shown.

Teyssier as well as Junkelmann mention reliefs from the Eastern part of the Roman Empire: A relief from Tomis (Robert no. 46) shows a gladiator fighting against a retiarius, having a secutor helment and a gladius, wearing a lorica squamata and the strange knife thingy lies on the floor.

The second one is of unknownd provenance, nowadays at the Louvre showing a gladiator named Myron dating 2nd-3rd century. It shows him in fighting stance, but no opponent.

In his new edition of his book Junkelmann adds that in the Eastern part this gladiator type was called arbelas and shows a relief where two scissores/arbelai fight against each other. It is from Hierapolis (Pammukkale, Turkey) and dates from 3rd-4th century.

Battaglia also depicts as a drawing only an oillamp from Cnidos dating from 3rd century showing a retiarius against a scissor.

When the scissor fights as a contrarete he is clearly shown with some kind of a lorica, either hamata or squamata whereas his body protection cannot be clearly identified on the reliefs where he fights against another scissor.

General timeframe would be 2nd-4th centuries and more popular in the East than in the West. Why this was is up to speculation

Also I think it is speculative if they were some kind of an elite secutor. Like the dimachaerus they could fight either against each other or against the retiarius.
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#3
Very good. There's not much written about the scissor. However, the reference that you found about the finds in Italy rebuke Phillip Matyzak's claim in his book that the Scissor (Anabate) was found only in the east (namely Ephesus).If scissors were in both the eastern and western parts of the Roman Empire, I think it could be relatively safe to categorize the scissor as part of the "regular" types of gladiator. I found a couple of depictions of Scissor tombstones, and have come to at least a basic understanding about this gladiator. It appears that Scissors wore lorica squamata OR hamata that was short-sleeved to the elbows, and that fell to just above the knee. I believe that squamata (as well as the secutor helm) confirms my belief that the scissor fought the retiarius. I have a hard time seeing scissors fighting each other, as they most likely would have been housed with the secutors, and no one in that ludus would fight each other. That's an explosive situation that no lanista would want.


[attachment=7140]sc0012.jpg[/attachment]




Speaking of armor,how affective would an unshielded gladiator fair against a retiarius? it seems to me, that a retiarius, possessing a trident as long as himself, would have an extraordinary advantage over a fully-armored, gladiator wearing nearly 70 pounds (31.7kg) of gear. As far as I know, there are no scissor impersonators in the United States, and I have only heard of one in Europe. I would greatly like to figure out how such a duel would be fought, and just how well lorica squamata would hold up against a trident.


[attachment=7141]200px-Scissor_01.jpg[/attachment]




[attachment=7142]ptg02410571.jpg[/attachment]


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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
#4
I found a video of a scissor vs a retiarius. :woot:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4yxeHMFgL...0BD3771552
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
#5
One of the other reliefs shows a scissor in what I believe to be a musculata. There are a few European reenactment depictions where the scissor wears a mail shirt but like you(?) I prefer the interpretation of the shirt as scale ,which fits in with the fish motif, and gives a greater concussive protection. I also am certain that there is one relief that pictures a duel between two scissors, (i cannot remember where this was but it came from extensive Google and flickr trawling prior to me making my own "pizza cutter" a few years back)., Have you found Olaf's oomegaman stream on flickr? It is a brilliant resource for all things gladiator.
have fun
Richard
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#6
Many thanks, Richard. I do support the idea of Scissors generally wearing scale for the reasons you have just said. I would be most interested to see if a scissor wore musculata, because that would certainly be a first for gladiators. I have scoured the internet for authentic scissor relief, but I have not come across the "musculata" depiction. If anyone could validate the existence of a depiction, I and gladiator reenactors in general would be most appreciative,

Respectfully,
Tyler
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
#7
It was a very worn relief, possibly from Turkey or somewhere else "East" The armour was indiscernable but the general shape suggested musculata to me. Also, there is a famous statuette of a dwarf gladiator wearing musculata.
regards
mm
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#8
Heres a link.
It is the Bodrum relief.
possibly it could be interpreted as a fat man???????????
http://www.livius.org/ha-hd/halicarnassu...hotos.html
regards
Richard
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#9
I find it very intriguing that a a scissor would wear a musculata. I am of the opinion that a scissor would only wear a musculata against another scissor. This would allow scissors to more easily wound their opponent and it would ensure that a fight between the two would not drag on and on. A scissor in Musculata, ( the legs and arms being exposed) would be no contest against a retiarius, as a scissor did not carry a shield anyways.
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
#10
Quote: it could be interpreted as a fat man?
Well, more than a few of us look like that when wearing hamata. I've discovered a trick: Wear a second fascia ventralis under the tunic. Mannus Girdleus. Hee hee. Works. :-P
M. Demetrius Abicio
(David Wills)

Saepe veritas est dura.
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#11
Quote:
Quote: it could be interpreted as a fat man?
Well, more than a few of us look like that when wearing hamata.. :-P

Haha. Don't worry, Galen lamented that the gladiator's body fat was detrimental to joint health. We can just say that we're going for complete historical accuracy. B-)
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
#12
For the sake of convenience, I would like to post the picture of the suspected scissor wearing a musculata. As far as I know, this is the first evidence of a gladiator wearing musculata. Additionally, can anyone identify the helmet he is wearing? It does not look like the standard secutor helm. :?


[attachment=7387]gladiator1_mus_bodrum_s.jpg[/attachment]

Hopefully someone can answer a conundrum that I thought of this morning: Gladiators were very dependent on the favor of the crowd. As such, they tried desperately to build a fan base. They did this by wearing ornate decorations, and painting fantastic and immediately recognizable images on their shields. The retiarius could rely on his face being recognized, but the scissor, apparently, had no method for immediate identification by the crowd. How, in everyone's much more knowledgeable opinion, would the scissor have been able to display that bit of crowd-pleasing individuality that could have meant the difference between life and death? To put it into perspective: If two scissors were dueling, and one plead for the misso, how would the crowd have been able to tell the two apart. From what I've seen in iconography, scissors looked nearly identical.


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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
#13
I guess I'm of failing vision, but that looks exactly what hamata looks like on an overweight fellow. I don't see musculata there, but maybe that's just because I'm predisposed to believe the Scissor wore hamata. A larger picture might help.

One way, reportedly, that gladiators were identified was by color of clothing. Scissors wore a tunic, and it might have been a specific color for a specific gladiator. Also, in the entry parade, they were said to carry an emblem. Perhaps something like our interpretations of vexilia banners. So if you knew the emblem on the gladiator's vex, then you'd note that he was wearing a specific tunic. Most gladiators, not just Scissors, had their faces covered so they couldn't be recognized that way.

Gladiators often wore a ribbon around their leg. It's hard to know what those were for, but perhaps for identification?
M. Demetrius Abicio
(David Wills)

Saepe veritas est dura.
Reply
#14
Quote:I guess I'm of failing vision, but that looks exactly what hamata looks like on an overweight fellow.
Sure, but an 'overweight gladiator'?
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
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#15
Yes, normal. Most gladiators, according to what I've read, ate a high carbohydrate diet that gave them a layer of fat so they could get superficial wounds that bled for the crowd, without sustaining muscle injury. They weren't grossly obese, but they weren't Mr. Universe, either.
M. Demetrius Abicio
(David Wills)

Saepe veritas est dura.
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