Take the 2-minute tour ×
History Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for historians and history buffs. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I used to work for a company and we would go around doing gladiator reenactments, it was great and fun, however one thing that the boss always said was that if I could find a reference to any gladiator having used an axe, I would be allowed to use one in the fight.

Now I have been drawn to fight a Hoplomachus as a Murmillo of a Thracian, but the offer still stands if I can find a reference to using an axe. We like to try and keep is as historically accurate as possible. I am bored of fighting with a Gladius its not as fun.

I know that Spartacus (the recent tv adaptation) had their Secutors use axes, however I cannot find anywhere any kind of historical reference to this and wonder if it was just for entertainment purposes.

I know that it is traditionally a sword for a Gladiator, but does anyone have anything at all?

share|improve this question
2  
Actually, part of the spectacle of the gladitorial games was that they'd pit fighters with different (and exotic) styles against each other. Since Germans were known to use axes in battle, it beggars belief that they'd never used one equipped with his native armament in a contest. –  T.E.D. Apr 9 at 12:32
    
Gladiators used all kinds of weapons including axes. Axes were actually a pretty standard weapon in the ancient world. –  Tyler Durden Apr 13 at 1:42

1 Answer 1

None of the standard fighting styles would have been armed with an axe (at least none of them that I can find reference to). However...

This mosaic at Galleria Borghese in Rome is believed to have dated from between 320AD and 330AD clearly shows a gladiator armed with an axe on the far right:

enter image description here

These mosaics memorialize great gladiatorial matches (the little circles with the lines through them show the person depicted was killed in the match). An un-cited explanation on Wikipedia claims that

The name of each gladiator depicted is given in inscription next to the figure, with a Ø symbol (possibly the Greek letter Θ, for θάνατος "dead") marking the names of gladiators who died in combat.

I think I'd consider this a pretty solid reference to "any gladiator having used an axe".

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.