|Murmillo (left) and Thracian|
The armoured murmillo gladiators first became popular in around ad50. The name murmillo refers to a type of fish found in the Mediterranean. Later murmillos had armour on their left leg only, the right leg being left bare.
The gladiators using equipment similar to that used by warriors from the Kingdom of Thrace in what is now Bulgaria first appeared in 78bc. They carried a small, square shield called a parma. The leg armour was taller and stronger than that used by other gladiators.
The provocator was the most heavily armoured of the standard types of gladiator. This was the only type of gladiator to have armour over the chest. The name means challenger.
The only type of standard gladiator not to wear a helmet was the retiarius. The only armour these men wore was an arm guard. Some men wore no armour at all to enable them to move and dodge faster.
from ACTION FILES GLADIATORS by Rupert Matthews