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Евсеенков А.С.

Paegniarius (Latin: paegniarius) is an ancient Roman gladiator who entertained the audience during breaks between fights while the main fighters, fighting to the death, rested. The name comes from the Greek word παίγνιον - toy, which in the context of gladiatorial fights meant "comic battle".

Paegniarii were armed with fake weapons - just wooden gladius-rudis and whips. The protective equipment consisted of a wooden shield and wooden guards on the arms and legs instead of manicae and greaves. They wore a balteus, like other gladiators, but besides it, they could wear a tunic and even braccae. Also, this is the only type of gladiators who were allowed to wear caligae. They did not use helmets and at best just wrapped their heads in cloth. Paegniarii conducted comedic duels without fatal outcomes. Unlike real gladiators, they could live a long life: the well-known epitaph of the Paegniarius Secundus informs that he lived 99 years, 8 months, and 18 days.

Mosaic with a battle of Paegniarii. Roman villa in Nennig, Germany. Early 3rd century AD.

Related topics

Gladiator, Gladius, Shield, Tunic, Braccae, Balteus, Caligae