There were several different types of gladiator who would fight each other for the entertainment of the Romans. One type of gladiator called the retiarius would use a trident and a net. Others, such as the secutor, used a sword and shield. The retiarius had the advantage of agility and a tool with which to trip up or ensnare his opponent, but little protection from attacks. The secutor had the advantage of greater protection from his shield and a sharp edged sword with which to attack, but he was weighed down by his more cumbersome equipment. This simile suggests that Hortensius was so skilled as an orator that he combined the advantages of several different types of attack, while retaining the ability to defend himself from anything thrown his way.