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Quiz about Fighting for Life in the Colosseum
Quiz about Fighting for Life in the Colosseum

Fighting for Life in the Colosseum Quiz


Can you identify the Latin name for each of these weapons used by various types of combatants as they fought for glory, and often for their lives?

A matching quiz by looney_tunes. Estimated time: 4 mins.
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Author
looney_tunes
Time
4 mins
Type
Match Quiz
Quiz #
391,312
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
7 / 10
Plays
281
Awards
Top 35% Quiz
(a) Drag-and-drop from the right to the left, or (b) click on a right side answer box and then on a left side box to move it.
QuestionsChoices
1. Straight sword, broader towards the handle, usually about 65 cm long  
  Rete
2. Long sword, over 75 cm, usually used by mounted fighters  
  Verutum
3. Large dagger (or very short sword) with a curved blade about 30-40 cm long  
  Sagitta
4. Dagger used primarily in defense  
  Funda
5. Spear used for thrusting rather than throwing  
  Sica
6. Short spear used for throwing like a javelin  
  Gladius
7. Sling used for throwing projectiles  
  Hasta
8. Weighted net thrown over opponents  
  Spatha
9. Three-pronged spear  
  Fascina
10. Arrows, projected using a bow called an arcus  
  Pugio





Select each answer

1. Straight sword, broader towards the handle, usually about 65 cm long
2. Long sword, over 75 cm, usually used by mounted fighters
3. Large dagger (or very short sword) with a curved blade about 30-40 cm long
4. Dagger used primarily in defense
5. Spear used for thrusting rather than throwing
6. Short spear used for throwing like a javelin
7. Sling used for throwing projectiles
8. Weighted net thrown over opponents
9. Three-pronged spear
10. Arrows, projected using a bow called an arcus

Most Recent Scores
Jul 02 2024 : gracious1: 8/10
Jun 14 2024 : jibberer: 10/10

Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Straight sword, broader towards the handle, usually about 65 cm long

Answer: Gladius

Gladii evolved over the years, and the term was later used in reference to almost any sword, but at the time of the Republic and early Empire it was only used for one of the various double-edged swords used both for stabbing and for slashing at an opponent.

The gladius is the sword whose use is the origin of the generic term gladiator, for one who fought with a gladius. Gladiators came in a number of different types, but they all carried a gladius and a large shield with which they protected their body from attack. Other combatants were properly given different names that referred to their equipment, but modern usage often calls them all gladiators.
2. Long sword, over 75 cm, usually used by mounted fighters

Answer: Spatha

The spatha was used by Roman troops after the inclusion of Celtic cavalry regiments during the first century CE, and was initially used as a weapon for mounted troops. In later times the spatha was also used by heavy infantry, the troops who formed a phalanx and advanced as a solid front in battle.

This gave them a slightly larger range for attack. The cavalry version had a blunt end, to help keep the soldier from accidentally stabbing himself in the foot as he rode; it was used as a slashing weapon.

The infantry version had a point, as it was primarily used for stabbing.
3. Large dagger (or very short sword) with a curved blade about 30-40 cm long

Answer: Sica

Terminology is not precise as to the difference between a short sword and a large dagger - both are bladed weapons used in hand-to-hand combat, with daggers being generally shorter than swords. Since siccae had a range of sizes, the smaller ones would probably be considered daggers, with the more common longer ones short swords.

A fighter using a sica was called a Thraex (referring to the Thracian origin of the weapon, and originally of the fighter), who also carried small shield called a parmula.

They were usually pitted against fighters armed like a Roman legionary, as an imitation of the battles between Romans and their enemies. As these fighters carried larger swords and shields, as well as other defensive armament, the curved shape of the sica was very useful for allowing the Thraex to attack around the side of their opponent's scutum (shield) and stab them in the side or back.
4. Dagger used primarily in defense

Answer: Pugio

The pugio was a small dagger with a leaf-shaped blade, used for stabbing. (They were considered the weapon of choice for assassination, and were the weapons used to kill Julius Caesar.) Although Roman soldiers seem to have carried them, their use in battle is not clear.

In gladiatorial combat, they were usually carried by the Retiarii, for use in defense if their nets had failed to immobilize or disarm their opponent.
5. Spear used for thrusting rather than throwing

Answer: Hasta

Roman soldiers (and hence gladiators) used a variety of spears, but most of them were thrown like a javelin. The hasta, which had a wooden shaft and an iron head, was specifically used for thrusting, and the legionaries carrying them were known as Hastati. During the time of the Republic, most troops were re-armed with throwing spears, and only the group of fighters called the Triarii (who formed the third line of combat, and often managed to avoid the fighting entirely) continued to carry a hasta.
6. Short spear used for throwing like a javelin

Answer: Verutum

The length of the hasta (around 2 metres) made it unsuitable for throwing at a moving target. The verutum was about half that length, and much lighter, making it viable for use as a thrown weapon, since it could be aimed accurately.

Another thrown spear was the pilum, which was as long as a hasta, and very heavy. It was used to soften up the enemy forces by throwing it onto the body of troops, where its weight could inflict significant damage, and accuracy of aim was not important. A fighter in the arena who wanted to use a throwing spear was facing a moving target, and would have used a verutum rather than a pilum. The verutum was especially useful when facing wild animals, as it allowed the fighter to keep a reasonable distance from the target.
7. Sling used for throwing projectiles

Answer: Funda

Roman soldiers who used a slingshot to hurl stones and bullets (glandes) at their enemies were called Funditores, and some gladiatorial contests were set up to include them in the mix. They were carried in pocket-like attachments to the clothing, from which they could be quickly transferred to the sling, which was usually made of leather or hemp.

It had a pouch into which the projectile fitted, and one or two straps that were held for whirling the sling around to give the projectile a high velocity as it was released.

In actual combat, slings were sometimes mounted on long wooden handles, allowing for even more speed to be imparted. This weapon was called a fustibalus.
8. Weighted net thrown over opponents

Answer: Rete

Rete is the Latin word for a net, and the source of the name for combatants who used them, Retarii. (The English word reticulated comes from the same root - it means constructed in, or as if in, a network.)

The Retarius fought with weapons based on the tools of a fisherman - a net and spear. The retarius had very little protective covering - he had to rely on being quick to avoid the attack of his opponent, who was typically a secutor (armed with a gladius and carrying a scutum, along with significant amounts of defensive padding) whose equipment made him less mobile. There were two standard tactics for using the rete. One was to throw it over the opponent's head to immobilise him; the other was to throw it over his weapon, and disarm him by twisting the weapon out of his hand. They basically only got one shot, so had to wait for a suitable opportunity to attack, meanwhile maintaining a safe distance.
9. Three-pronged spear

Answer: Fascina

The fascina, or trident, was the second offensive weapon of the Retarius. Like the net, it was derived from the tools of a fisherman, being a modified harpoon. Once the opponent had been immobilised, the Retarius could stab him. The fascina was usually about a metre long, so jabbing could be done from a reasonable distance - even with the net around him, a determined gladiator could do damage up close.

If you want to look up fascina, the singular noun whose plural form is fascinae, be careful not to get it confused with the plural of fascinus, a term used to refer to the Divine Phallus, an object of worship in Rome. The temple of the fascinus populi Romani was tended by the Vestal Virgins.
10. Arrows, projected using a bow called an arcus

Answer: Sagitta

The sagitta were released from a bow (arcus), and the soldiers who used them were called Sagittarii. (Hence the name of the constellation Sagittarius, the Archer.) Sagitta were an important weapon in battle, but not commonly used in the arena against human opponents. They were, however, a common weapon when the fighter was pitted against a wild animal.
Source: Author looney_tunes

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor gtho4 before going online.
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