The laquearius, laquerarius, or laqueator (plural laquearii, laquerarii, and laqueatores; literally, “snarer”) was a class of Roman gladiator that fought with a lasso or noose (laqueus) in one hand and a poniard or sword in the other. The laquearius appeared late in the history of the Roman games. They may have made up a full-fledged gladiator class that fought actual bouts in the arena. If this was the case, the snarer likely followed the same tactics as the retiarius, a gladiator who wielded a throwing net and trident. Such combat-oriented laquearii fought by attempting to snare their adversaries with the lasso to allow for a follow-up strike from the blade. The snarer’s armour was probably similar to that of the retiarius; it consisted mainly of a galerus armguard worn over the left shoulder. Another possibility is that the laquearius was a kind of paegniarius, or clown. These men fought mock battles in the arena as comic relief between real matches.
Most gladiator types were based on real-world antecedents. Because the Romans did not use lassos on the battlefield, it is unlikely that the laquearius was based on a Roman model. Instead, it may have been based on a barbarian tribe known to the Romans to use lassos in combat, such as the Sagartians. Another possibility is that the noose gladiator was meant to represent an executioner. However, the fact that his backup weapon was sword makes this seem unlikely.
German historian and experimental archeologist Marcus Junkelmann has propagated an idea, based on an unlabeled, unclear image that he decided might be a scissor, that this type of gladiator fought using a weapon consisting of a hardened steel tube that encased the gladiator’s entire forearm, with the hand end capped off and a semicircular blade attached to it. A handle inside the tube might have allowed the gladiator to maintain control in the heat of battle. This weapon might have been both deadly and versatile; the gladiator could use his protected arm to block his opponent’s blows and quickly counterattack, the shape of the blade being such that even the slightest touch could cause a serious wound.
Thought to have originated around 50 AD, the Secutor (“Follower”, from sequor “I follow, come or go after”) was armed similarly to the Murmillo gladiator, and like the Murmillo, was protected by heavy armour. A Secutor usually carried a short sword, a gladius, or a dagger. The Secutor was specially trained to fight a Retiarius, a type of lightly armoured gladiator armed with a trident and net.
The very distinctive helmet of the Secutor had only two small eye-holes, in order to prevent a Retiarius’s trident from being thrust through the face, as well as a rounded top, so as not to get caught in a net. The flanges protecting his neck were smooth and shaped like fish fins for this purpose. Because of the weight and lack of space in the helmet, the secutor had to win quickly, lest he fall to exhaustion or faint due to breath constrictions.
The secutor wore a loincloth, and a wide belt (much like that of the retiarius). On his right arm, he wore a manica (a heavy linen or metal wrapping tied with leather thongs), and on his left leg, he wore an ocrea (a greave made of boiled leather or metal). He also carried a scutum (a curved rectangular shield) to protect himself.