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The tall shoulder-guard (galerus) was the only protection offered the retiarius. Made of bronze, it covered the shoulder and upper arm, where it was fixed to the manica or arm-guard. By putting his left shoulder forward, the retiarius was able to offer some protection to his head behind the curved sheet of metal. Three examples survive from the gladiatorial barracks in Pompeii, each weighing about two-and-a-half pounds. The most elaborate, which is illustrated, is adorned with a rudder, crab, and anchor, and a dolphin entwined around a trident. One was decorated with the weapons of the retiarius and the engraved abbreviation RET SECUND (Retiarius, second rank); another only with a medallion depicting the head of Hercules, who was famous for his strength.

Reference: Gladiators at Pompeii (2003) by Luciana Jacobelli.

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