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p202 Bestiarii

Unsigned article on p202 of

William Smith, D.C.L., LL.D.:
A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, John Murray, London, 1875.

BESTIARII (θηριομάχοι), persons who fought with wild beasts in the games of the circus. They were either persons who fought for the sake of pay (auctoramentum), and who were allowed arms, or they were criminals, who were usually permitted to have no means of defence against the wild beasts (Cic. pro Sext. 64; Sen. De Benef. II.19, Ep. 70; Tertull. Apol. 9). The bestiarii, who fought with the beasts for the sake of pay, and of whom there were great numbers in the latter days of the republic and under the empire, are always spoken of as distinct from the gladiators, who fought with one another (Cic. in Vatin. 17; ad Qu. Fr. II.6 §5). It appears that there were schools in Rome, in which persons were trained to fight with wild beasts (scholae bestiarum or bestiariorum, Tertull. Apol. 35).


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