THE STRANGE WEAPONRY OF GLADIATORS. Lidz describes some of the weaponry of the different kinds of gladiators, including the weaponry of the woman gladiator portrayed in the statue: “Every fighter was a specialist with his own particular equipment. The murmillo was outfitted with a narrow sword, a tall, oblong shield and a crested helmet. He was often pitted against a thraex, who protected himself [OR HERSELF] with sheathing covering the legs to the groin and broad-rimmed headgear, and brandished a small shield and a small, curved sword, or sica. The retiarius tried to snare his opponent in a net and spear his legs with a trident. In 2014, a traditional dig in Carnuntum’s ludus turned up a metal plate that probably came from the scale armor of a scissor, a type of gladiator sometimes paired with a retiarius. What distinguished the scissor was the hollow steel tube into which his forearm and fist fitted. The tube was capped: At the business end was a crescent-shaped blade meant to cut through the retiarius’ net in the event of entanglement.”
I realized just now how remarkable it was to have competitions in which the fighters used weapons that were not used in actual battles. It’s hard to imagine a Roman soldier—or any soldier—relying on the net and trident of a retiarius against enemy troops.
This post at the Lacus Curtius site has a lot more about gladiators.