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Roman Marble Fragment with Scarce Gladiatorial Scene

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Ancient World: Roman: Pre AD 1000: Item # 1266269
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This attractive piece is a Roman marble fragment that dates from the Roman Imperial Period, circa 3rd-4th century A.D. This piece is approximately 4.2 inches high by 8.25 inches long. This piece is likely a fragment from a marble table top which had a framing border, and this fragment is a section of this framing border. The top of this piece has a flat, but concave edge, and this formed the outer edge of the marble table top. The back side is flat, and the top side of this fragment (table top edge section) has a width of approximately 1.6 inches. This piece has a nice spotty light brown patina, and is in superb condition with very little wear. The scene depicted on this piece is interesting, in that it is a gladiatorial scene of a semi-nude pygmy with a spear fighting a leaping panther. This type of pygmy gladiator was known as a "Venator", who fought and/or hunted animals in the arena, and this type of spectacle was known as a "Venatio" or "hunt". The spear used by the "Venatores" for fighting with animals was also known as a "Venabulum". (See "Gladiator, Rome's Bloody Spectacle" by Konstantin Nossov, Random House, 2009.) The pygmy appears to be wearing a wide strap around his neck and chest that may have been used to help support the weight of the large spear. This long spear would have been an advantage for the pygmy, as it would have provided separation between himself and the panther, but it was also a disadvantage, especially if the quick panther got past the blade tip of the unwieldy spear. The two figures seen on this scarce gladiatorial scene, may also be depicted close to scale with one another, and the panther appears that it could have stood as high as the height of the pygmy. The scene depicted, of a pygmy vs. panther, is a relatively scarce to rare scene of the gladiatorial games, as most of the gladiatorial scenes depicted on Roman art portray full sized and armed gladiators. This piece has a great deal of eye appeal, and this type of scene is seldom seen on the market. This piece is mounted on a custom Plexiglas display stand, and can easily be removed. Ex: Private German collection, circa 1990's. (Note: Addition documentation is available to the purchaser.) I certify that this piece is authentic as to date, culture, and condition: