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Евсеенков А.С.

The Murmillo (Latin: murmillo, myrmillo, mirmillo, mormillo from "murma" - "sea fish caught in a net") was a gladiator in Ancient Rome armed with a sword and a shield.

He belonged to the category of heavily armed gladiators and was equipped with a gladius (40-50 cm in length) and a slightly smaller version of the scutum. Murmillos wore a type III gladiator helmet with a wide protective visor and a crest. Sometimes the crest and the sides of the helmet were decorated with feathers. The Murmillo also wore a manica on his right arm, greaves, and, like other gladiators, he wore a subligaculum and a balteus. The weight of the equipment was around 12-18 kg. Murmillos were often referred to as Gauls, and their equipment was called Gallic, as this type of gladiator historically consisted of captured fighters from Gaul.

The main opponents of the Murmillo were the Thracians and the Retiarii, as evidenced by numerous visual and written sources. They sometimes also fought against hoplomachus and provocators.

Emperor Domitian (81-96 AD) was a fervent fan of Murmillo gladiators. This incredible passion was once expressed in a bloody revenge against one of the spectators who favored the Thracians. Suetonius describes this incident:

"[Domitian] ordered a man of the highest rank who had said that the Thracian gladiator would not yield to his opponent but would yield to the director of the games, to be brought out into the arena and thrown to the dogs, with the inscription 'Shield-bearer—for his impudent tongue.'"

Bas-relief with murmillon. National Archaeological Museum, Aquileia. 1-2 century AD
Figure of the gladiator murmillon made of bone. Found in Lexden, Colchester. British Museum of Roman History. 1st-2nd century AD
Bas-relief with murmillon. Ephesus Museum, Turkey. 1-2 century AD

Murmillon Equipment:

During a reconstruction of a fight on a rigid, non-sandy arena, the use of authentic footwear, such as caligae, is permitted.

Murmillon, reconstruction

Related topics

Gladiator, Helmet, Manica, Ocrea, Balteus, Subligaculum, Gladius, Pugio, Retiarius, Thraex, Hoplomachus, Provocateur



Terracotta oil lamp with gladiators. Gallo-romain de Fourvière Museum, Lyon, France. 1-2 century AD
Drawing on the wall with gladiators. Found on Balkerne Lane. Preserved in Colchester Castle Museum, Camulodunum. 2-3 century AD
Fragment of a bas-relief with murmillons from Pompeii. Mid-1st century AD
Terracotta oil lamp with gladiators. Museum des Beaux-Arts et d'Archéologie, Vienna, France. 1-2 century AD
Oil lamp in the form of a gladiator, I-II centuries AD, Split
Pendant in the form of Murmillon's helmet, I-III centuries AD, found in London
Gladiator, 1-2 B.C., 75 mm, bronze, Private collection.
Murmillon, 130 mm with stand, bronze, California Institute of World Archaeology.
Murmillon, 1st century AD, 64 mm, bronze. Private collection.
Bronze figurine with murmillon. 1-3 century AD
Murmillon, 2nd century AD, 83 mm, bronze. Private collection.
Terracotta lamp with murmillon and Thracian. 1-2 century AD