Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Lanista\'s role: rules in a knife fight
I just had to ask: what exactly did a lanista do, and what rules did they enforce if everything was a fight to the death? It seems to me that the only reason would be for rules was if there was a way out that everyone recognized.
Richard Campbell
Legio XX - Alexandria, Virginia
RAT member #6?
Hi there

Nice question Rich. By Lanista I assume you mean the man depicted in the arena with the ladiators. In all likelihood he is called the Umpires. He appears to have been a referee of sorts.

I haeyet to find details on their social status and whether or not they where a professionals, slaves, ex gladiators, criminals or any other social form you wish to think of.

Clearly within the arena they had some authority. I think that we can guage this by the amount of depictions of them seperating gladiators (and not being killed for their troubles), their clavii (I understand clavii are some form of status symbol, albeit that the status may only be in the arena) and finally in many images they sometimes seem to be observing/monitoring the fights.

As far as I have been able to see there doesn't appear to be any real known details of what they did or how the fihts where monitored by them. They seem to be an Imperial addition to the competitions, possibly because in the earliest days of Empire the Emperor closely managed the permissions to have games and the need of an umpire became more so there was interaction with the gladiators.

The only real thing that we can see from artwork, that they do, is step in when a gladiator raises the finger of defeat. Or in this case, they seem to be starting the bout as niether gladiator is showing the usual signs of defeat (shield on the floor, finger raised, ictorious gladiator with shield in the air etc ...).

I have a half cocked theory that gladiator fights might have been halted everytime a good 'hit' was scored and the injured gladiator given the chance to surrender the bout ... has he been injured enough to escape the decisions of the crowd? This seems to fit well with what we understand of surrending to the other gladiator upon defeat, fixing fights and the artwork. There is also a grave (sorry at work can't look up the source) that states you should always kill your opponent and not let them live, or look what happens!

So I guess that the evidence of what these men did is fairly scant, but I have a hundred theories Wink

All the best


Forum Jump: