n. [L., fr. rete a net.] (Rom.Antiq.)
Description: The retiarii, or net wielders, were the most lightly armoured of gladiators, and were prized more for their speed and agility than strength. In combat, the retiarius darts about evading his opponent's strokes even as he tries to entangle his enemy with the net for which he is named. Fleet of foot and agile he survives by evading the slower, heavier and less manoeuvrable opposition.
Retiarii carried only a three-pointed lance, called tridens or fuscina [FUSCINA], and a net (rete), which they endeavoured to throw over their adversaries, and then to attack them with the fuscina while they were entangled. The retiarius was dressed in a short tunic, and wore nothing on his head. If he missed his aim in throwing the net, he betook himself to flight, and endeavoured to prepare his net for a second cast, while his adversary followed him round the arena in order to kill him before he could make a second attempt.
The retiarius recalled a fisherman, and was perhaps a reflex of the theatrical mode: the role of a hunter-fisherman as played by slave Joe Q. Publicus.
The traditional opponent of the Retiarius was a
Myrmillo, Fish-Man, who was encased in armour and generally armed with a large shield and
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