Gladiator in armor

Imperial Period
1st–3rd century A.D.

Catalogue Raisonné

Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), no. 129.


Height: 6.7 cm (2 5/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


The Ancient World



Applique-plaque with a hollow back in a three-quarter view.

The figure is facing toward its left, with a rectangular shield on the left arm, a greave (shin-guard) on his left leg, and a sword in his right hand. His helmet, with neither a crest nor a visor, was designed to eliminate projections that might catch in the nets of a retiarius (net fighter). This helmet suggests that the figure represents either a provacotor, a secutor, or a contraretiarius (it is not known how these three classes of gladiators differed), all of whom were paired with retiarii in gladiatorial combat.

Classical Department Exchange Fund 1982.323.


By 1982: with Blumka Gallery, 949 Park Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10028 (said to have come from a New York collection formed in Germany during the Weimar Republic); purchased by MFA from Blumka Gallery, June 9, 1982

Credit Line

Classical Department Exchange Fund