"Little piece of Rome right in the face!"
- Steven Dietrich, Gladiator expert
Early Cestus were simply strips of leather wrapped around the hands. They were used in Greek hand-to-hand competitions, where only knockout mattered. As the Romans adopted them for gladiatorial combat, metal studs and spikes were added to increase the lethality. It was the very first boxing glove.
- Length: 6 inches
- Weight: Under 1 lb
- Composition: Leather with iron spikes
The cestus was used to increase the power of the wearer's punches by focusing the force of a punch onto the tips of the iron spikes. In gladiatorial combat, they were worn by otherwise unarmed opponents, mostly slaves, who were forced to fight a kind of boxing match to the death. The Cestus was officially banned in the First Century B.C.E.