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A modern-day reenactment of the normal attire of a Crupellarius.

A Crupellarius (Latin: Crupellarius, pl. Crupellarii) was a type of heavy armored gladiator during the Roman Imperial age, whose origin was Gaul.[1]

Equipment & Style[edit]

The standard Crupellarius is clad almost entirely from head to foot in Lorica segmentata, as well as similar Manica,[2] and carried a Scutum and Gladius. They wore a helmet resembling a perforated bucket, with only very small openings for the eyes and mouth, similar to a medieval Great helm.

Thus, the Crupellarius' fighting style was suited for men with a large muscular build, able to withstand the weight of the heavy plate armor he wears. The Crupellarius are more defense orientated, depending on his stamina and endurance to survive the battle, tiring out attacking foes before counterattacking them when they are worn out.


They are first mentioned by the 1st century AD historian, Tacitus. Under the reign of the 2nd Roman Emperor, Tiberius, a faction of Treveri led by Julius Florus, and the Aedui, led by Julius Sacrovir, led a rebellion of Gaulish debtors against the Romans in 21 CE.[3] The Crupellarii, heavily armoured Gallic gladiators, fought against Roman legionaries.[4]

"In addition were some slaves who were being trained for gladiators, clad after the national fashion in a complete covering of steel. They were called crupellarii, and though they were ill-adapted for inflicting wounds, they were impenetrable to them..."[3]

"...the cavalry threw itself on the flanks, and the infantry charged the van. On the wings there was but a brief resistance. The men in mail were somewhat of an obstacle, as the iron plates did not yield to javelins or swords; but our men, snatching up hatchets and pickaxes, hacked at their bodies and their armour as if they were battering a wall. Some beat down the unwieldy mass with pikes and forked poles, and they were left lying on the ground, without an effort to rise, like dead men."[3]


  1. ^ Shadrake, Susanna. The World of the Gladiator. The History Press Ltd., Tempus Pub. Ltd., 2005. ISBN 075243442X, ISBN 978-0752434421.
  2. ^ Manica, Caballo (Paul Brown) 2007,
  3. ^ a b c Cornelius Tacitus (117 CE), Annales III:40-46.
  4. ^ Britannia, Archived 2013-10-30 at the Wayback Machine