If at first the games of the early Roman republic had religious significance, then later the 'secular' games were purely for entertainment, some lasting a fortnight. There were two kinds of games ludi scaenici and ludi circenses.
The ludi scaenici is theatrical performances, were hopelessly overwhelmed by the ludi circenses which were the circus games.
Far fewer festivals saw theatre plays than circus games. For the spectacular events in the circus drew far greater crowds. This is also shown in the sheer scale of the structures built to house the audiences. The theatre plays were merely seen as an accompaniment to the ludi circences, although it needs to be said, that many Romans indeed ardent theatre-goers.
Different gladiators specialized in different weapons and tactics. The following illustrates these various styles and equipment. Of these, Thracians, Mirmillones, Retiarii, and Secutores were four of the most common.
Andabatae: 1st century BC Clad in chainmail like eastern cavalry wore visored helmets without eye holes. They charged blindly at one another on the back of a horse as an ancient precursor to the medieval joust.
Bestiarii: (beast fighters) armed with a spear or knife, these gladiators were condemned to fight beasts with a high probability of death. In later times, the Bestiarii were highly trained, specializing in various types of exotic, imported beasts.
Dimachaeri: Used two-swords, one in each hand.
Equites: Fought on horseback with a spear and gladius, dressed in a full tunic, with a manica (arm-guard). Most of the time Eques only fought gladiators of his own type.
Essedari: Celtic style charioteers, likely first brought to Rome from Britain by Caesar.
Hoplomachi or Samnite: Fully armored, and based on Greek hoplites. They wore a helmet with a stylized griffin on the crest, woollen quilted leg wrappings, and shin-guards. They carried a spear in the Hoplite style with a small round shield. They were paired...