Women fought as all types of gladiator. They usually fought without helmets, though the other equipment was the same as that used by male gladiators. The emperor Septimius Severus banned women from fighting in ad200.
The earliest type of gladiator, after the early combats between unarmoured slaves, was the samnite. They wore the equipment of a typical soldier from Samnia, though often with added plumes and other colourful decorations.
The Gauls who fought in the arena were so popular that some Roman gladiators dressed as Gauls and used their weapons. By about ad50 these men began to wear leg armour and helmets, but they retained the long sword and large shield. The last Gaul gladiators appeared around ad100.
The velite gladiators were not popular for very long. Men equipped as velites appeared in massed battles between teams of gladiators in around 50bc, but were not used after around ad30.
The Parthians inflicted a series of defeats on the Roman army around 50bc. The Romans were impressed by the heavily armoured cataphractus cavalry. They began dressing some gladiators as cataphractus to appear in the arena.
The key feature of the dimachaerus gladiators is that they were armed with two swords. The name means two-handed. Most dimachaerus fought without a helmet or any armour, though some wore thick padding around their arms and legs.
The only type of gladiator to be armed with bows and arrows was the sagittarius. These men usually fought against wild animals, such as lions or panthers, but sometimes fought each other.
The blind gladiators had to rely on their hearing to try to locate an opponent. Sometimes two andabatae were made to fight each other. In at least one fight the pair of blind gladiators were mounted on horses and armed with lances.
Riding in chariots and manoeuvring at high speed, the essedarii produced some of the most exciting combats in the arena. They were introduced to Rome by Julius Caesar after his British campaign of55bc, but were not seen in the arena after Britain was conquered by Rome in ad47.