Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Two more Gladiators: Retiarus and Hoplomachus

I finished two more gladiators over the Bank Holiday weekend. Mike from Black Hat Miniatures has re-published the Gladiator Games rules Morituri Te Salutant and I will be playing him next month in a rare trip to the club. http://blackhat.co.uk/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=131&products_id=1483

Here is my first Retiarus, which is a Foundry figure from GLAD1/4 Colosseum Champions. Foundry don't seem to give you tridents with your retiarus figures any more but I was lucky and got some off eBay. The retiarus (net fighter) was the only gladiator who habitually fought without a helmet and was armed with a trident, a net and, often, a dagger. His (or her) main opponent was the secutor (see my previous entry: http://legatuswargamesarmies.blogspot.com/2008/02/gladiator-secutor.html) but sometimes they are recorded as having fought murmillones whose helmets were, appropriately, decorated with a fish motif. Retiarii were unarmoured apart from an armguard (which this figure does not have) and, sometimes an armoured shoulder and neck plate on the left arm (galerus) which he does have. The wide belt was called a balteus.

This is a hoplomachus from the same Foundry pack as the retiarus. The quilted leggings are typical as is the (not visible in this picture) armoured armguard (manica) on the sword arm. The had small, round bronze shields and were usually paired against Murmillones or Thraces.
Originally they were supposed to modeled on the ancient Greek hoplite and are often showing carrying a spear. It has been suggested that they hoplomachus was just a later name for the gladiator originally called a Samnite and whose fighting style was similar to those of Ancient Greece. The name change was brought about by the Samnites coming into the Roman Empire and not wanting to offend what were now ex-enemies An early form of political correctness, therefore!

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