Parmularius Gladiator

While not a class of gladiator as such, the parmularius gladiators were any gladiator that had a small shield known as a parma. The plural of this gladiator class was parmularii, and the opposite of this class were the Scutarii, who carred a shield known as a scutum, much larger in size than the parma shield.

The Parma Shield

The shield used by the parmalarius gladiators was called the parma, and was typically around 36 inches in diameter, which is about 90cm which is quite small for a shield. The parma was an iron framed sheiled with a central boss and a handle on the rear to hold it with.

The parma was used by Roman soldiers known as legionnaires origionally but later they changed to using hte much larger but heavier scutum. The parma however still held favour with certain Roman troops and units, typically horsemen, cavalry where its lighter weight was beneficial when on horseback.

parmalarius gladiator 1

Two parmalarius gladiators, both from the eques class wielding parma shields.

Armour of parmalarii gladiators

It was common for gladiators who were parmalarii to wear ocreae, shin armour to make up for the fact their small shield only covered a very small area. Gladiators with a large shield known as a scutarious were able to cover much more of their body than a parmalarius

Gladiators classed as a parmalarius

The gladiators that fell under the parmalarius class were only very small in number, due to the lack of protection the shield offered, but the following gladiators are though to be:

  • Thraex gladiator
  • Eques gladiator
parmalarius gladiator 2

A mosaic depicting two eques gladiators, both in the parmalarius parent class.