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First appearance S0E01: Past Transgressions
S1E02: Sacramentum Gladiatorum
Last appearance S1E07: Great and Unfortunate Things
Profession Gladiator (House of Batiatus)
Race Dacian (Possibly Getae)
Relationships Titus Lentulus Batiatus (Former dominus, deceased)
Quintus Lentulus Batiatus (Dominus, deceased)
Ulpius (Former Doctore, deceased)
Oenomaus (Doctore, deceased)
Gannicus (Friend, deceased)
Crixus (Friend, deceased)
Ortius (Friend, deceased)
Hamilcar (Friend, deceased)
Tyronius (Friend)
Spartacus (Rival, deceased)
Varro (Rival, deceased)
Rhaskos (Rival, deceased)
Pollux (Rival)
Pietros (Victim, deceased)
Barca (Enemy, deceased)
Status Deceased (Killed by Spartacus)
Actor/Actress Raicho Vasilev

Gnaeus is one of the top gladiators in Batiatus' Ludus.


Gnaeus is a talented gladiator in Batiatus' ludus. He is tall of stature, bulky, balding, and with a body that shows signs of many past battles. He is known for his strength and experience. As a Retiarius he uses a net, trident, dagger, and hand-to-hand combat in battle. He is shown to have been converted from Thraex to Retiarius during the events of the prequel, Gods of the Arena.


Gnaeus is an extremely selfish man, exhibiting a somewhat deranged personality, often bearing a lopsided smirk and always including snide and derogatory remarks in his speech. Gnaeus is callous and sadistic, highlighted in particular by his physical and sexual abuse of Pietros. In spite of his cruel nature, Gnaeus shared a deep sense of brotherhood with his fellow gladiators, with the exception of Barca and Spartacus.

Although Gnaeus has stable standing in the ludus as a Gladiator, he despises Barca and his lover Pietros above all others because Barca humiliated him in the arena. When Barca vanishes, Gnaeus forces Pietros to his will and abuses him.

Once confronted about it, Gnaeus shows no shame and even mocks the slave in his suicide. Despite his cruel personality, Gnaeus was fearless in combat and enjoyed training with his gladiator brothers. He was, however, quite frustrated with their teasing of his fighting style.

Combat Prowess[]

An aspiring gladiator of some renown, Gnaeus is a proven combatant in the arena and one of the more able gladiators of the ludus. He is arguably the best Retiarius in the series.

While first using the standard shield-and-sword combination as a Thraex, Batiatus forces him to switch fighting styles due to not having much success with it in the arena. When using a net and trident, Gnaeus shows considerable skill, often finding himself in the Primus. His creative tactics with the net are noteworthy for their effectiveness, and include throwing the net long distances, completely enveloping foes with it, tripping foes with it, and even catching the net on fire in order to engulf an adversary in flames.

Gods of the Arena[]

Gnaeus as Thraex.

Gnaeus is characterized as one of the lesser men at this time. He spends most of his time training and socializing with the other gladiators.

He is excited when he gets the opportunity to fight Barca in the arena. During their fight, however, he is humiliated and bested by the Hoplomachus but is spared from death by the editor of the games Quintilius Varus. This leaves Gnaeus both spiteful and envious of Barca.

His inability to fight with sword and shield, in addition to the fact that Batiatus's ludus lacks a Retiarius, prompts the Lanista to change Gnaeus' class to Retiarius. When informed of this by the newly-appointed Doctore, Oenomaus, Gnaeus becomes angry and defiant. This leads Oenomaus to whip him, asserting his authority as Doctore over the gladiators. Gnaeus then complies with his Doctore's orders and switches to the Retiarius style.

Although he is made fun of for it often and dislikes it himself, he displays great skill with the net and trident and begins to climb up the gladiatorial hierarchy as one of the more skilled men.

During a contest in which Titus Lentulus Batiatus attempts to rank the gladiators, Gnaeus faces off in his first fight against Pollux. The two verbally taunt one another before their fight, but it is unknown which of them was victorious. He would later fight against Ashur, whom he is able to best and humiliate in front of the others.

Gnaeus as Retiarius.

Gnaeus is chosen by Batiatus as one of several gladiators to beat and capture both Tullius and Vettius. Disguised with Ashur as Syrian traders, they quickly overwhelm Batiatus' rivals and defeat them.

He is given a place to fight in the opening games of the new arena and fights valiantly, gaining position to fight in the Primus.

During the Primus battle, he is successful in killing two of Solonius' gladiators before being knocked out of the ring by Caburus, surviving the overall battle, but losing the chance to become Champion of Capua.

Gnaeus swings his net in the ring of fire.

Gnaeus bids farewell to Gannicus after the latter gained his freedom, alongside all the other gladiators, before returning to their regular day of training. 

Blood and Sand[]

Gnaeus is one of the higher-tier gladiators and of great skill as a Retiarius. Varro faces him during the latter's final test, to which they end up fighting to a draw.

Gnaeus is set to face Crixus in the Primus of the Vulcanalia. He overhears Spartacus' disdain over this pairing, to which Gnaeus insults the Thracian, saying that one day he may prove himself, but for now he must fight "in the morning with the rest of the shits."

Spartacus later antagonizes Gnaeus to the point where the latter charges him in a fit of rage, but smashes his head against the wall when the Thracian dodges. Deemed too injured to fight, he is replaced in the Primus by Rabanus and then by Spartacus after the latter manipulates a party crowd to his favor.

After Barca's "departure" from Batiatus' Ludus, Pietros is left to fend for himself. Gnaeus takes advantage of this vulnerability and forces himself on Pietros, claiming him as his unwilling whore. Unlike Barca, Gnaeus beats Pietros and leaves visible marks on his face and body.

Gnaeus is thrown to his death.

This mistreatment, among other things, leads to Pietros’ suicide. Angered after Pietros took his life, Spartacus assaults Gnaeus in the courtyard, but the fight is stopped by Doctore. Gnaeus makes a few more snide remarks about Pietros, wherein Spartacus grabs him by the throat and sends him flying off the cliff.

He is last seen falling to his death, his body dashed on the rocks below.


  • Raicho Vasilev, the actor who plays Gnaeus, is 183cm tall and weighs 97kg (about 214lbs).[1]
    • Raicho has also played a Dimachaerus gladiator named Comodus in the 2004 miniseries Spartacus, who was also killed by Spartacus. However in the miniseries, Commodus was killed by Spartacus in the arena.
    • Raicho is a native of Bulgaria. He shows experience in Kickboxing in past films.
    • Raicho Vasilev is also Liam McIntyre's stunt double thoughout Vengeance and War of the Damned.
    • In addition to playing Gnaeus, Raicho Vasilev also performed the roles of Ixion and Caratacus.
  • Gnaeus originally fought as a Thraex but was forced to learn the Retiarius style due to his lack of skill with the sword and shield. He is the only Retiarius shown in Batiatus' ludus, but Batiatus boasts that he is the top of that class in all of Capua. It is likely that Gnaeus was never suited to the Thraex fighting style because his large frame took away the agility that was needed. As a Retiarius, his long arms and strength are put to good use.
    • Another explanation of Gnaeus' success as a Retiarius is that it was a rarely-seen class at the time, leaving opponents uncertain of how to fight against it.
    • When Gnaeus switches his fighting style in Gods of the Arena, he shows a lot of skill as a Retiarius in the inauguration of the arena of Capua, enough to burn an enemy gladiator with his net and survive the primus uninjured.
    • Gnaeus and Spartacus are the only two gladiators that are shown to switch their fighting style in the series.
  • Gnaeus is a Dacian, therefore possibly related to the Getae. This might explain his aggressive attitude towards Spartacus, as the Getae and Thracians were enemies.
    • However, Gnaeus is a Roman name (Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus for example). This would mean that, like most slaves, his name was given to him.
  • Gnaeus' actor, Raicho Vasilev also played Andrei, a similar character from the 2003 film starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, In Hell:
    • Both were Eastern European
    • Both had fighting skills
    • Both raped young men
    • Both fought with protagonists who were provoked by them afterwards.


  • (About his matchup with Barca) "Yes, fuck you! Gnaeus fight Barca."
  • (Speaking of Barca to Crixus, after Auctus' death) "His cock will find another hole to fuck."  [2]
  • (To the new Doctore, after he tells Gnaeus to switch to the Retiarius style) "A fucking net, Oenomaus?!"  [3]
  • (About his match up with Crixus) "I will fuck your corpse." [4]
  • (About Spartacus' disrespect of Crixus) "Did you hear this one? One day maybe you prove yourself, but until then, you fight at dawn with the rest of the shit-whores."
  • (About Pietros' suicide) "He will be missed...especially his lips around my cock."[5]