Collection online

relief

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1847,0424.19

  • Description

    Marble relief commemorating either the release from service or the discharge after a draw of two female gladiators, Amazon and Achillia. They are armed, and advancing to attack, with swords and shields. The figure on the right is missing the head. They stand on a platform, and below on each side is the head of a spectator. Inscribed above and on the platform. They are shown with the same equipment as male gladiators, but without helmets.

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  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 1stC-2ndC
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 65.6 centimetres
    • Width: 77.5 centimetres
    • Depth: 16 centimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Language

        Greek
  • Curator's comments

    According to several contemporary eye-witnesses, women also performed in the Roman arena. According to the biographer Suetonius, the emperor Domitian (reigned AD 81-96) made women fight by torchlight at night.Bibliography: Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum. Berlin: 1828-1877, 6855 f; Archaeologische Zeitung. Berlin: 1848, p. 202.An alternative interpretation of the relief is given by Kathleen Coleman, who postulates that the relief commemorated not a release from service as gladiator for both women, but a 'missio', meaning that they were discharged, probably after a draw, and sent to the barracks to continue training.

    Coleman also points out the peculiarity of the women's names, Achilia and Amazon, as a clear reference to the myth of Achilles and Penthesileia, queen of the Amazons. It could be that this pair of female gladiators often fought each other, as reenactment of mythological scenes.

    See K. Coleman (2000) "Missio at Halicarnassus", Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 100: 487–500.

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  • Bibliography

    • Sculpture 1117 bibliographic details
    • CIG 6855F bibliographic details
    • Inscription 911 bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G69

  • Exhibition history

    Exhibited:

    2000, Hamburg, Gladiators and Caesars

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1846

  • Department

    Greek & Roman Antiquities

  • Registration number

    1847,0424.19

Marble relief commemorating the release from service of two female gladiators, Amazon and Achillia.

Marble relief commemorating the release from service of two female gladiators, Amazon and Achillia.

Image description

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Object reference number: GAA4531

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