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RUDIS 100.00%
The wooden foil of the gladiators. (See GLADIATORES.)
The Latin name for the combatants who fought each other for life or death at the public shows. They first appear in Rome in 264 B.C., and only at the celebrations of private funerals, or in games given in memory of a private individual. Entertainments of this kind were often provided for in wills. The custom, like others of the same kind, seems to have come from Etruria, where it was a survival of the human sacrifices formerly usual at funerals. These gladiatorial contests soon became a very favourite form of popular entertainment, and in the last century of the republic were hold to be an excellent means of winning the favour of the populace at elections. Indeed, custom at length imposed an obligation on some magistrates, for instance on the aediles, to give gladiatorial games on their assumption of office; and they would try to outbid each other in the number of contending couples and in general expenditure. From Rome the fashion soon spread into the provinces. Campania was the part of Italy where it most prevailed. It was not, however, till the time of Domitian that quaestors designate were regularly compelled to give the great gladiatorial ex-ibitions, which occupied ten days in the month of December. In the Western Empire they survived at least down to the beginning of the 5th century A.D. They were at first given in the forum, but afterwards generally in the amphitheatres (see AMPHITHEATRE, and in the circus, if the exhibition was to be on a very large scale. The gladiators were sometimes condemned criminals; but it must be remembered that originally Roman citizens could not be sentenced to the arena, and it was not till later times that this punishment was extended to criminals of low condition. Sometimes they were prisoners of war, slaves, or volunteers. Under the Empire it was not so uncommon, even in the upper classes, to volunteer as a gladiator. Sometimes the step was the last refuge of a ruined man; sometimes the emperor would force a man to it. These volunteers were called auctorati (=bound over), to distinguish them from the rest; their pay was termed auctoramentum. Troops of gladiators were sometimes owned by Romans in good society, who often, towards the end of the republican age, employed them in streetfights against their political opponents. Sometimes they were the property of speculators, who often carried on at the same time the disreputable trade of a fencing master (lanista). These men would hire out or sell their gladiators to persons who were giving their shows, or would exhibit them for money to the public on their own account. The gladiators were trained in special schools (ludi). Under the Empire things went so far that the emperors kept schools of their own under the supervision of procuratores of equestrian rank. After Domitian's time there were four of these in Rome. A building for this purpose, large enough for a hundred gladiators, is preserved in Pompeii. To strengthen their muscles they were put on a very nourishing diet. Every style of fighting had its special professor (doctor or mdgister), and the gladiator was usually instructed only in one style. The novice (tiro) began with fence-practice against a wooden stake, at first with light wooden arms, but afterwards with weapons of full weight. If a man were intending to give a show of gladiators (manus gladiatorium) he advertised it by notices (programmata ) put up on the walls of houses, numerous copies of these being at the same time widely distributed. These notices stated the date and occasion of the show, the name of the giver (editor), the number of pairs of gladiators, and the different kinds of combats. The performance began with a gala procession (pompa) of the gladiators to the arena and through it. Then came the testing of the weapons by the editor, who, though he might be a private individual, had the right of wearing the insignia of a magistrate during the show. A preliminary skirmish or prolusio, with wooden swords and darts, next took place, till the trumpets sounded, and the serious fighting began. This took place to the accompaniment of music in a space, measured out by the fencing master. The gladiators sometimes fought, not in pairs, but in troops. The timid were driven on with whips and red-hot irons. If a gladiator was wounded in single combat, he raised his fore-finger to implore the mercy of the people, with whom, after the last years of the republic, the giver of the games usually left the decision. The sign of mercy (missio ) was the waving of handkerchiefs: the clenched fist and downward thumb indicated that the combat was to be fought out till death. Condemned criminals had no chance of mercy. The slain, or nearly slain, were carried on the biers which stood ready for them, to a particular door (porta Libitinensis), into a place where they were, stripped ( spoliarium). There, if they had not actually expired, they were put to death. The victors received palms, with branches adorned with fillets. Under the Empire they sometimes got presents of money a& well. If a gladiator, by repeated proofs of cleverness and bravery, succeeded in gaining the favour of the people, he was, at the public request, presented with a kind of wooden rapier (rudis),[1] as a token that he was now free from all further service. In this case he was called rudiarius. This did not make him an absolutely free man; but if he chose to fight again, he did so as a free man, and could accordingly claim a high remuneration. Gladiators were armed in various styles, as the pairs of combatants were usually armed, not with the same, but with different weapons, The weapons of gladiators, and notably their helmets, were quite different in form from the arms of soldiers (see fig. 1). Gladiators were classed according to their equipment. Thus the retiarius was armed with a net, was bareheaded, and had nothing on but a short tunic and a girdle; his left arm was in a sleeve; his arms were a net (iaculum), a trident (fuscina), and a dagger. The net he tried to throw over his pursuing adversary, and to despatch him with dagger or trident, if successful. The secutor, or pursuer, was so called, because he was generally set to fight with the retiarius, who retired before him (fig. 2). He was as lightly equipped as his adversary, but armed with helmet, sword, and shield. The myrmillo (fig. 3), who was also often matched against the retiarius, was armed in Gallic fashion with helmet, sword and shield, and named after the figure of a fish (mormylos, which adorned his helmet. The Samnis, or Samnite, was so called after his Samnite equipment. This consisted of a large shield (scutum), a sleeve of leather or metal on the right arm, with a shoulder piece (galerus), rising above the shoulder, a girdle, a greave on the left foot, a visored helmet with crest and plume, and a short sword. The Thrax, or Thracian, wore, like his countrymen, a small round shield (parma) and a dagger (sica) curved in the form of a sickle, or bent at right angles. In other respects his equipment was more complete than the Samnite's, for he had greaves on both legs.The hoplomachus, or heavily armed gladiator, wore a breastplate, as well as visored helmet, and greaves. In later times the place of the retiarius was sometimes taken by the laquearius, who wore the same light armour, but carried a short sword and a noose (laqueus), which he threw over his adversary and pulled him to the ground. The dimachaeri, or men who fought with two swords, are also apparently the production of a later time. The essedarii (from essedum, a British war-car with two horses) fought in chariots. The andabatoe (fig. 4) fought on horseback, armed with small round shield and spear (spiculum), and a visored helmet without eyeholes, and charged each other in the dark. There are many representations of gladiatorial combats in works of art, the most comprehensive of which is a large bas-relief in Pompeii. [Overbeck's Pompeii, figs. 106-112; or Schreiber's Bilderatlas , I xxx figs. 2-8.]
LANISTA 91.65%
The Roman name for a fencing-master or trainer of gladiators. (See GLADIATORES.)
HELMETS 14.86%
Helmets were, in antiquity, made sometimes of metal, sometimes of leather. A metal helmet was in Greek called kranos, in Latin cassis; a leather one in Greek kyne, in Latin galea. Leather helmets were sometimes finished with metal work. (1) Three forms of the Greek helmet may be distinguished. (a) The Corinthian visored helmet, which Athene is represented as wearing on the coins of Corinth. This had a projecting nose-guard, a long or short neck-piece, and two side-pieces to protect the cheeks. An opening, connecting with the two eye-holes, was left for the nose and mouth. The helmet was, except in battle, thrown backwards over the head. (b) the Attic helmet, represented on Attic coins as the only one worn by Athene. The neck-pieee fits close to the head; the cheek-pieces are either fixed immovably to the head-piece, or can be moved up and down by means of joints; in front of the head-piece, extending from ear to ear, was a guard, sometimes arranged for putting up or down, and thus acting as a screen for the face. (c) The simple, cap, worn chiefly by the Arcadians and Lacedaemonians. This sometimes had a projecting brim, sometimes not. The skull was protected either by a cone of varying form, or by a guard running over the top of the helmet. This was often adorned with a plume of horsehair or feathers. (2) Roman. The engravings will give a sufficient idea of the different varieties of Roman helmets. For the visored helmets of the gladiators see GLADIATORES. The standard-bearers, during the imperial period, wore, not a helmet, but a leather cap.
GAMES 13.03%
(1) Public. Among the Romans public games were intimately connected with religious worship. (For the public games of the Greeks, see ISTHMIAN, NEMEAN, OLYMPIAN, PYTHIAN GAMES.) The Roman ludi, originally races, appear first in the worship of Mars and Consus, the tutelary deities of horses and mules. But it was also a very ancient custom to celebrate ludi votivi, or games vowed on special occasions, particularly in time of war. Such games were usually vowed to Jupiter, the greatest deity of the Romans. These exceptional celebrations were so often repeated that they at length passed into regular annual festivals (ludi stati). The number of these games gradually increased, and so did their duration. At the end of the republican period there were seven sets of games, which occupied 65 days; in the middle of the 2nd century A.D. 135 days were given up to them, and in 354 A.D. as many as 176. In old times the games only lasted part of the day; but they gradually began to take up the whole day from early morning onwards. At a later period they went on in many cases into the night, requiring artificial illumination. The Roman ritual was very strict, and it happened pretty often that in consequence of some accidental interruption or trivial oversight, an instauratio or repetition of the spoiled day, if not of the whole festival, would be ordered, lest the gods should have any cause for anger. The different collegia of the priests were responsible for superintending the games, prescribed in honour of their respective divinities. But in the case of festivities vowed by the State, this duty fell to the high magistrates; at first to the consuls, afterwards (and almost exclusively) to the aediles, and after Augustus to the praetors. The expenses were provided for by a certain sum of money paid over from the public treasury to the giver of italics>the games. For the Ludi Romani, the greatest of all the festivals, this sum amounted, during the period preceding the Punic wars, to about £1,800. After this period it reached some £3,000, and by 51 A.D. had risen to £8,750. At the same time the givers of the games had to make larger supplementary contributious. The demands of the public were so extravagant that in course of time the amount of this private expenditure increased enormously, especially in the last century B.C. Augustus, indeed, tried to check it; but he was obliged to allow his praetors to spend three times as much on the games as was paid for the public treasury. Under the Empire many enactments were issued to restrict the expenditure on the games by law, but no permanent effect was produced. Even after the 4th century A.D. the expense rose to as large a sum as from £50,000 to £150,000. The oldest games were those of the circus, consisting mainly of horse-races and chariot-races, with gymnastic contests, to which others were added in course of time. (See CIRCUS.) After 364 B.C. dramatic representations were introduced from Etruria. These were in 240 B.C., and onwards, exchanged for regular theatrical performances (See LIVIUS ANDRONIOUS). Contests of gladiators, also from Etruria, were fashionable after 264 B.C. But these were only exhibited, during the republican period, at funeral games, private and other entertainments (see GLADIATORES). The following regular festivities were introduced in the republican period, and continued in existence until the latest times: (1) The Ludi Romani. These were the oldest games of all, and were, in strictness, celebrated in honour of Jupiter by victorious generals at their triumphs; hence it was that they included, as a special feature, a procession (pompa) from the Capitol to the Circus; a part of the performance which seems afterwards to have been embodied in the other games of the circus. Originally they lasted only one day; but in course of time they absorbed more and more time, till in the Ciceronian age they went on for fifteen (September 4-19). After the death of Caesar another day was added in his honour. After the introduction of theatrical performances, several days were taken up with them. The curule aediles were, in the republican period, responsible for the management. (2) Ludi plebei. These originally lasted one day, but afterwards fourteen, November 4-17. They were given in the Circus Flaminius under the direction of the plebeian aediles, and early included dramatic entertainments. (3) Ludi Cereales, given under the direction of the plebeian aediles in honour of Ceres, the tutelary goddess of the plebs. The date was originally April 19, afterwards April 12-19. (4) Ludi Apollinares, or in honour of Apollo. These were introduced during the Second Punic War, and celebrated originally on July 13, continuing afterwards from July 6-13. On the last day only were there any performances in the circus; the rest of the festival was given up to the drama. These were the only games for which, in the republican period, the praetor was responsible. (5) Ludi Megalenses, in honour of the Magna Mater, introduced 204 B.C. and held at first on April 4, afterwards from April 4-10. (See RHEA .) They included performances both in the theatre and in the circus. They were under the management of the curule aediles, and the same remark applies to (6) the Ludi Florales, from April 28 to May 3. (See FLORA.) During the imperial period the number of permanent festivals was largely increased. The birthday of Augustus, for instance (September 23), was regularly celebrated with ludi circenses, and the ludi Augustales (October 3-12) were instituted in honour of his memory. Side by side with the public games, private performances were often given by societies, families, and individuals on special occasions, such as those of births, marriages, or funerals. Sometimes the object would be merely to please the public: sometimes to raise money. The giver of the entertainment had, like the superintendent of the public games, the privilege of lictors and the toga proetexta. Charges for admission were made or not according to the occasion. But the admission to the public games was free, it being always understood that special seats were reserved for the magistrates, priests, senators, equites, and particular families and individuals. (See AMPHITHEATRE, CIRCUS, GLADIATORES, SEA-FIGHTS, THEATRE, WILD BEASTS.) Of social games the ancients, and especially the Greeks, had plenty. The cottabus, so popular at Greek banquets, the games of ball, of which both Greeks and Romans were fond, and the games with dice, are described in separate articles. A game of draughts (petteia) appears as early as Homer, and was said to have been the invention of Palamedes. But we have no knowledge of its nature and rules, and have very scanty information about the similar games played in later times. The "game of cities" seems to have resembled our chess or draughts. The board was divided into spaces, and movements made upon it with stones; the object being to get your opponent into check. The Romans had several games of the sort, among which the ludus latrunculorum, or game at soldiers, is to a certain extent known. This was a game of siege. The men (calculi) were divided into privates (mandroe) and officers (latrones), and the object was to take or to get your adversary's stones in check. In the ludus duodecim scriptorum, or game of 12 lines, dice were used. The dice-board was divided into 24 spaces by 12 parallel lines intersected by a line at right angles. Each side had 15 men, one set being black and the other white. Before each move the dice were thrown, and the move determined by the number which turned up. A very favourite game was Odd and Even (Gk. artiasmos, Lat. ludere par impar). You held out so many fingers, and put so many coins, pebbles, or nuts in your hand, and made your adversary guess whether the number was odd or even. The Roman children, and indeed their elders, were very fond of various games with nuts.
Type: Standard
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