Last week we began the series on gladiators you might meet in The Arena which are based off of existing types of gladiators. We started with the lightly-armored, duel-wielding, Dimacharus, like the two main characters, Duncan and Mahmud.
Today I'm going to feature another type of gladiator that wouldn't necessarily be pitted against a dimacharus as often but is featured in a very important scene of The Arena: The Laquearius.
In The Arena, Duncan is pitted against the agile laquearius and he's not familiar with how to fight them well since, like the dimacharus, they wear light armor and are agile opponents. The way that the owners of Neo Roma's arena make it more interesting for such a pairing is they have a rotating platform the two fighters have to fight on. In the upcoming sequel to The Arena, you find out that a main character who also escaped the Arena, Haruto Ito, was also a laquearius.
So, let's take a look at their armor, weapons, and potential opponents!
Laquearius or (plural) laquearii get their name from one of their signature weapons: the laqueus or lasso. These fighters would be equipped with a lasso or noose in one hand and in the other they'd be given a sword or spear.
The lasso would be used to ensnare the opponent and the spear or sword used to finish them once they had them bound.
It's easy to underestimate a length of rope in a fight. Don't make the mistake of believing it's an easy task to thwart a weapon like this. In The Arena, Duncan erroneously assumes he'd be able to just cut through the rope. However, rope isn't as easy to cut through as you might imagine and as movies often portray. Add to it that most weapons in the Roman era were chisel sharp, not razor sharp. It takes a lot of hacking and slashing to cut through a thick well-made rope.
A good laquearius won't give you the chance to try though. You'll be busy trying to untangle the rope around you while dodging a sword and spear.
Laquearii are highly-mobile fighters with little armor. They do have more armor than the dimacharus, though. They are allowed a galerus, which is an arm guard that, at the top, comes up like a fin to protect the neck and face. (See photo at the beginning of the article) So, at least on one arm, they can deflect blades to a degree. Guess which side they lead with in a fight?
Like the dimacharus, because they're agile and mostly unarmored, they fight heavily-armored opponents to make the match interesting. A laquearius would be expected to fight against something like mirmillo or hoplomachus.
Fighting an opponent with more armor may give a laquearius more places to catch their lasso though. At the same time, they'll need to be good at throwing at a target because that rope will eventually fray, weaken, and break, even against edges of armor. They'll need to stay far away from their opponent since they don't have the armor to go toe to toe with someone equipped with shields and helmets. That means less room for mistakes.
Stay tuned to hear more about other types of gladiators in the next few weeks!
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