Roman Times and Events: Those about to Die, Special Terms

(words which identify Roman terms referring to people and other topics; especially, those appearing in Those about to Die)

ludi sollemnes (pl) (noun)
Formal Roman games which were presided over by the public authorities.
munera
Meaning "gifts", a reference to privately sponsored and organized games, outside the domain of the civic administration.

They could be presented anytime a wealthy family lost a member, either immediately following the loss, or at some time in the future, well after the death had actually taken place.

It was through the medium of the munera that gladiatorial combats were first introduced into Rome, and the munera remained the primary (though not exclusive) outlet for this sort of spectacle until the beginning of the Imperial period.

naumachia (s) (noun), naumachias (pl)
A naval spectacle or a mock sea battle presented by the ancient Romans: The naumachias were used to entertain Romans in the circuses.
poleaxe
1. A battle ax used in the Middle Ages formed as a long handled ax and a pick.
2. An ax used to slaughter cattle which has a hammer opposite the blade. 3. Used to mean, "he fell as if he were hit with a poleax.

Generally, the head of the weapon consisted of an axe, or hammer, on the damaging "face", with a spike, hammer, or fluke on the reverse. In addition, there was a projection from the top built somewhat like a dagger.

postliminium
A Roman citizen who was captured by an enemy was regarded by Roman law as a slave, except that his rights were not extinguished, but put in temporary suspension.
Postulati
Someone who fought in full armor with a sword and a lead mace against all opponents who were allowed to use any weapon which they wished.
Retiarius
A fighter who wore no armor, but who carried a net and a trident (a three-pronged spear).

Developed in the early Augustan era, the retiarius (net-fighter) carried a trident, a dagger, a net, and no helmet. Except for a loincloth, a manica on his left arm, and a metal shoulder-guard (galerus) above the manica, the retiarius fought naked and was always paired with a secutor.

scutum
A curved rectangular shield.
Secutor (s), Secutores (pl)
Someone who was specially trained to fight a Retiarius, a type of gladiator that had a trident, or a net.

The very distinctive helmet of the Secutor had only two small eye-holes, in order to prevent a Retiarius's trident from being thrust through the face, as well as a rounded top, so as not to get caught in a net.

The Secutor had to be quick or he was in danger of falling from exhaustion or faint because of breath constrictions.

The Secutor wore a loincloth, and a wide belt (much like the Retiarius). On his right arm, he wore a manicae (a heavy linen wrapping tied with leather tongs), and on his left leg, he wore an ocrea (a greave made of boiled leather or metal). He also carried a scutum (a curved rectangular shield) to protect himself.

spoliarium (s) (noun); spoliariums, spoliaria (pl)
A chamber beneath the Roman arena, where bodies of dead gladiators, and other dead bodies, were dragged and later disposed of by burial or whatever was decided by Roman officials: "Historically, spoliariums were ancient Roman places where slaves dragged the bodies of dead gladiators from the arena for later disposal or burial."
testudo (s)
1. Among the ancient Romans, a movable shelter with a strong and usually fireproof arched roof, used for protection of soldiers in siege operations.
2. A shelter formed by overlapping oblong shields, held by soldiers above their heads.
3. When capitalized, a genus of turtles, the land tortoise.
trireme
An ancient Greek or Roman galley or warship having three tiers (rows) of oars on each side; arranged one above the other.
venatic (adjective), more venatic, most venatic
1. Pertaining to being employed in or devoted to stalking certain animals as a source of food: Kevin has venatic interests and often engages in hunting for sport and for nutritional reasons.
2. Descriptive of or pertaining to hunting in ancient Roman times: The drawings on the wall in the temple depicted the venatic activities of Romans who were carrying spears and chasing wild animals.
Hunting or chasing for sport.
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Hunting or chasing.
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venationes (pl) (noun)
Hunts involving the slaughter of animals, especially fierce ones, by other animals or by human bestiarii or fighters of wild beasts and, sometimes of criminals by animals which were a major spectacle in Rome from 186 B.C.: "The venationes supposedly displayed the ingenuity and generosity of a sponsoring politician, and the reach of Rome and its power over nature, in procuring exotic species (lions, panthers, bears, bulls, crocodiles, hippopotamuses, rhinoceroses, and elephants)."
venator (s) (noun), venators (pl)
1. A hunter or a huntsman.
2. An ancient Roman soldier who specialized in hunting wild animals.

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