AskDefine | Define cestus

User Contributed Dictionary


Etymology 1

From κεστός


  1. girdle, belt, tie around the waist

Etymology 2

Variant of caestus < caedo


  1. boxing glove; a strip of leather, weighted with iron or lead, tied to a boxer's hands

Extensive Definition

A cestus is an ancient battle glove, sometimes used in pankration. In effect, it is the Classic World's equivalent to brass knuckles.
The Latin word caestus (plural caestūs) is derived from verb caedere, meaning "to strike". It is unrelated to the similar noun cestus (plural cestī), that refers to a kind of belt worn by women in Ancient Greece. The first version of a battle cestus was a series of leather thongs that were tied over the hand. Greeks used them in their hand-to-hand competitions, where only knock out mattered. Romans modified the construction by adding metal parts, including spikes, studs, and iron plates. Variants of this weapon include the myrmex or "limb-piercer", and the originally Greek sphairai, thin leather thongs with cutting blades.
Cestus were frequently used in Roman gladiatorial bouts, where otherwise unarmed combatants - mostly slaves - fought to the death. This form of boxing became increasingly bloody until the cestus was officially banned in the first century BC. Hand-to-hand fighting was banned in AD 393.
The most famous depiction of the cestus in sculpture is The Boxer of Quirinal, in Rome. The sitting figure is wearing cestus on his hands.


cestus in Bulgarian: Цестус
cestus in German: Caestus
cestus in Swedish: Cestus
Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1