Gladiator figurine of bone or ivory
Roman Britain, 1st-2nd century AD
From Lexden, Colchester
This figurine depicts a gladiator of the heavily-armedmurmillo 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 retiariuswho 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.
Source: British Museum