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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Thraex and Hoplomachus

Thraex: The thraex (or Thracian) gladiator appears to have been introduced to the arena around the time of the Mithridates Wars, during which a great many Thracians were taken prisoner. The thraex was armored with manica on his sword arm, protective leg wrappings, high greaves on both legs, a small rectangular shield and a large rimmed helmet with a feathered crest.  His weapon was a short curved dagger, which meant he had to get very close to his opponent in order to attack him.  The thraex was usually paired against the myrmillo, a gladiator type who was armored with a gladius infantry sword and protected with a legionary type scutum shield.  In this way, the gladiator match between the thraex and myrmillo might have mimicked a fight between a legionary and one of the enemies of Rome.  Comparing the arms and armor of the two gladiators, it appears this was a match-up the thraex was meant to lose!




Hoplomachus:  While the thraex was meant to represent Thracians in combat, the hoplomachus was meant to represent a Greek hoplite. He was armored with manica on his primary arm, quilted trousers, high greaves on both legs, a small round shield and a large rimmed helmet adorned with feathers.  His weapon was a spear and a dagger.   The  hoplomachus was usually paired against the myrmillo but some mosaics portray this gladiator type fighting a thraex.  If I've learned anything from hours of playing Demons Souls and Dark Souls on my PS3, it's that a spear armed opponent has a substantial advantage over an opponent armed only with a curved dagger.




One more week of gladiators and then the big reveal for my next Impetus army project.