"'Ave Caesar, morituri te salutant' Which when translated means "Hail, Caesar, those who are about to die salute you." Just to add to kessenich's fine w/u, there were other classes of Gladiators that evolved over a period of time. Some of them lasted longer than others due to the equipment they were forced to use, the opponents they were matched against or the fickle nature of the fans. Let’s take a look at some of the characteristics that identified them:


These fellows took their name from the people defeated by allies of Rome in 312 B. C.. The armor they wore and the weapons they used were seen as a sign of contempt for the Samnites. They carried large oblong shield called scutum and wore either metal or boiled leather greaves call ochrea on their left leg. To protect his head he wore a visored helmet called a galea which was adorned with a a large crest and plume. His weapon of choice was a sword called a gladius.


The name “Secutor” come from the term “pursuer”. The guys were forced to fight virtually naked. They carried a large oval or rectangular shield and wore the ochrea on their left leg. His head shaved bald, he wore a round or high visored helmet. Leather bands at the elbow and wrists encased his arms. Usually fought with a sword but was also known to fight with just a dagger


Clothed and armed in similar fashion to the Samnite except these gladiators wore ochrea on both legs and also a mail or leather cuirass


Latin for “challenger” and that’s just what these guys did. Was the popular opponent of the Myrmillo (be patient, read on) and also of some of the less popular gladiators of the day. Armed in similar fashion to the Samnite, he used a round shield called a parma and carried a lance.


Symbolism related to a fisherman. Fought in only a loin cloth and wore a metal shoulder piece on his left arm.

No helmet for this guy, he carried a net, a dagger and a trident. Another variation called the Laquearii substituted a lasso for the net. Either way, both of these classes were regarded as inferior due to the lack of armor


Loosely translated means “fish man”. This made him a popular opponent of Retiarius. These fellows wore a large galea emblazoned with fish on the crest. The left arm bore an arm guard made of chain mail, leather or metal scales. Both of his legs were protected by ochrea. Weapons included a scutum and a straight sword.


For body protection he wore ochrea on both legs and carried a small shield. His head was protected by a helmet, either visored or open faced. Weapon of choice was a scimitar.


Could be the origin of Sagitarius. Armed with bow and arrow and rarely met up against other gladiators in face-to-face combat. Was used mainly in man versu beast competition.


These gladiators were the first to be mounted on horseback. The horses wore no armor but the Equites wore closed, visored helmets along with leather bands on their thighs. Sometimes they wore chain mail coats. Armed with a lance and a shield for protection they usually competed amongst each other and rarely engaged gladiators that were on foot.


Rumored to be introduced by Julias Caesar, these guys were armed in numerous fashions and charged each other in slave driven chariots. Reportedly, a fan favorite!