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Gladiator figurine of bone or ivory


Height: 7.000 cm

Gift of Pelham R. Papillon

P&EE 1899 10-10 1

Room 49: Roman Britain

    Gladiator figurine of bone or ivory

    Roman Britain, 1st-2nd century AD
    From Lexden, Colchester

    This figurine depicts a gladiator of the heavily-armed murmillo class. Naked, but for a loin cloth and reinforced belt, he is armed with a large visored helmet, a short sword, a curved rectangular shield, metal greaves to protect his legs, and a heavy guard on his sword arm. Appropriately, a scene of gladiatorial combat is carved on the shield.

    These gladiators were often matched with the retiarius who carried only a net and trident. A pairing like this was intended to produce an entertaining contest between the lightly-armed, but highly manouevrable retiarius and the heavily-armed but less mobile secutor.

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