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Gladiator Weapons and Tools

Romans were inventive, especially when it came to the games. The reason why there were so many types of weapons was to provide interest and variety. 

Pictures of Gladiator Weapons including Gladius Sica Trident (Tridens) Net (Rete) Dagger (Pugio) Scutum Parmula Galea Manica Greaves (Ocrea) Fascina Balteus Cestus Hasta Plumbatae
Tools were made for specific types of Gladiator and sometimes, for famous and well known Gladiators.

Specific weapons and tools define the various types of gladiators in the Roman arena, each tailored to complement the combatants' fighting style and strategic needs, creating a spectacle that was as diverse as it was deadly. The following includes the most common weapons and tools. Many of these were taken from historians' descriptions and the prolific art that adorns many roman buildings today.

Roman Innovations in Iron and Steel

Roman blacksmiths were instrumental in advancing metallurgical techniques that significantly influenced ancient craftsmanship and technology. They invented new methods, such as tempering and quenching, to enhance the durability and flexibility of iron and steel weapons. They could create stronger and more resilient blades by heating the metal to high temperatures and then cooling it rapidly in water or oil.


Roman Blacksmiths also developed carburising techniques, which infused the iron surface with carbon to create a hard, wear-resistant outer layer while maintaining a softer, tougher core. These innovations not only improved the quality of Roman weaponry and tools but also laid the foundation for future advancements in metalworking.

List of Weapons Used by Gladiators


Typically used by the Murmillo, Thraex, and Secutor. A short, double-edged sword ideal for close combat.


Favoured by the Thraex, designed for slashing and hooking enemy shields and armour.

Trident (Tridens)

Characteristic weapon of the Retiarius, paired with a net to ensnare and then strike opponents at a safe distance.

Net (Rete)

Used by the Retiarius, typically in combination with the trident to entangle opponents, disrupting their movement and defence.

Dagger (Pugio)

Carried by various types of gladiators as a backup weapon, particularly effective for close combat.


Mainly used by the Murmillo and Secutor, a large, curved shield providing both offense and defence capabilities.


A small shield used by the Thraex and Secutor, allowing for quicker, more agile fighting styles.


A helmet worn by most armoured gladiators like the Murmillo and Secutor, with design variations indicating different roles.


Arm protection used by the Retiarius and other gladiators like the Secutor, to protect the unshielded arm.

Greaves (Ocrea)

Shin guards worn by heavily armoured gladiators like the Murmillo and Thraex, essential for protection.


A javelin or spear used to strike at a distance before melee combat, utilized by Dimachaeri and other types.


A belt that held the gladiator’s sword, providing a degree of protection, worn by those equipped with swords or daggers.


A reinforced glove, sometimes studded with spikes or blades, used by Cestus fighters in brutal boxing matches.


A long spear used by Hoplomachus gladiators, mimicking the style of Greek hoplites for jabbing from behind shields.


Dart-like weapons weighted with lead, thrown at opponents, used in 'beast hunt' games or specialised events.

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150 New AI Generated Images from Ancient Texts and Murals Found in Roman Buildings and Paintings

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