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)