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Bronze knife-handle in the form of a charioteer

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Height: 9.000 cm

P&EE 1856 7-1 1249

Room 49: Roman Britain

    Bronze knife-handle in the form of a charioteer

    Roman Britain, 1st-4th century AD
    From London

    The charioteer wears a short tunic, a helmet and protective bands (fasciae) around his waist, which were the normal outfit for charioteers. He is clearly not depicted in the middle of a race. Instead, with his hand raised to his head, it is probable that he is shown in victory, acknowledging the applause of the crowd.

    Although the remains of a circus have never been found in London, a circus has recently been discovered at nearby Colchester in Essex, and excavated by the Colchester Archaeological Trust. This is the first Roman circus ever discovered on British soil, and shows that chariot racing was familiar to at least some of the people of Roman Britain.

    The knife would originally have had an iron blade, which has since corroded away.

    E. Köhne and C. Ewigleben (eds.), Gladiators and Caesars: the po (London, The British Museum Press, 2000)

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    On display: Room 49: Roman Britain

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