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Hoplomachus’ statuette

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Bronze statuette showing hoplomachus – a type of Roman gladiator. The object dates to the 2nd century CE.

Hoplomachus (from Greek “armored warrior”) replaced the “Samnite” on the arena. This type of gladiator represented the Greek hoplite. He shielded himself with a closed helmet with a high crest and a round shield. He had a manica, loincloth (subligaculum) on his right shoulder and heavy thigh-guards. He fought with a simple short sword and spear.

He fought most often with a similar gladiator or with the same armament – usually murmillo, which in turn represented a Roman legionary. Hoplomachus also fought with thraex.

  • Eckart Köhne, Gladiators and Caesars: The Power of Spectacle in Ancient Rome, 2000

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