Blogging from A to Z: S is for Secutor

Statuette of a secutor, Roman Museum, Andesina, France. Carole Raddato from FRANKFURT, Germany / CC BY-SA (

The secutor was another class of gladiator. He was specially trained to combat the retiarius. He carried similar arms to the murmillo, with a gladius and heavy shield, as well as a scaled manica (arm covering) on his right arm and ocrea (greave) on his left leg.

The secutor also wore a distinctive helmet. It had only two small eyeholes, to prevent the retiarius’ trident from being pushed through to his face, and a rounded top so that it wouldn’t be caught in the net. The neck flanges on the helmet were rounded for the same purpose. The thing is, these features made the helmet very heavy, and limited visibility. The secutor had to win his bouts quickly, lest he succumb to exhaustion.

Bouts between the retiarius and the secutor were meant to emulate battles between a fisherman and a fish. The secutor’s arms and armor were designed accordingly.

Portrait bust of Commodus. Capitoline Museums / Public domain

The Roman emperor Commodus fought as a secutor, entering the gladiatorial ring 735 times. Although the fights were likely rigged, his opponents bore any scars they received with honor because they had come from the emperor. Commodus always accepted his opponents’ surrender. However, Commodus’ participation in the ring was not popular with the majority of the Roman public; they considered it beneath his dignity as emperor and felt that he should have been leading actual battles instead.

6 thoughts on “Blogging from A to Z: S is for Secutor

    1. I suspect that they were actually less protection than NFL helmets, due to the weight and low vision!

      Yep, those are lion’s paws. Commodus believed himself to be a literal descendent of Hercules. So, he would go about with a lion skin draped over himself, with the head over his as shown, in honor of Hercules’ labor of slaying the Nemean lion.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s