Saturday, October 26, 2013

Gladiators and charioteers in Noviomagus

This morning I visited museum Het Valkhof in Nijmegen, at Oppidum Batavorum or Ulpia Noviomagus Batavorum. Het Valkhof is a remarkable museum with an extraordinary fine collection of Roman finds, both from the vicus and the military settlements. Among these finds are two beautiful objects, a green glazed bowl and a terra sigillata jar. One shows fighting gladiators and the other one a racing chariot.


This well preserved bowl shows fighting gladiators in an amphitheater. A heavy armoured gladiator attacks his opponent, armed with trident and dagger.

At the opposite side you can see a referee, carrying a stick,  intervening. The bowl was made in Cologne (Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium) and capital city of Germania Inferior, probably at the end of the 2nd century AD. It was found at the cemetry of Noviomagus.


The second object is this terra sigillata jar, decorated by three medailions. One with a deer, one with a dog, and the one shown here, with a quadriga. The driver shows his victory branch and a coronet of beads. It says CALOS VENETE or "Bravo Blues!", referring to the blue party (factio veneta). It dates from the 2nd century AD, was found in Noviomagus, but the exact location is unknown. Originally, it was part of the collection of the famous Dutch collector G.M. Kam. Years ago I already visited this collection, at that time on display, stuffed and pilled in a small museum at the outskirts of Nijmegen. Currentely, it is permanently on display in Het Valkhof.

If you like to see more of my pictures of this excellent collection on display, please click here.

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