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Relief depicting two gladiators

Date ca. 40–20 B.C.
Object type relief
Medium, technique carved, marble (Luna)

57.2 × 63.2 cm

Inventory number 4820
Collection Classical Antiquities
On view Museum of Fine Arts, Basement Floor, Classical Antiquity, Eros – Dionysos – Thanatos

The relief is part of a larger composition. It depicts two figures. The man to the front, in a tunic, holds a staff which indicates his office: he is the referee (summa rudis, ʻchief staff’). The other man is a gladiator in a broad-brimmed helmet and scale armour, holding a round shield and a sword. Gladiators were distinguished by their equipment and mode of fighting. The fighter represented here is a ʻknight’ (eques) who started the battle on horseback, then continued on foot. His opponent was also a knight; the games opened with their duel.

Marble analyses have shown that the relief was made of Luna (Carrara) marble.

This record is subject to revision due to ongoing research.

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