A new study suggests that a rare statue of a gladiator is housed in a German museum. The catch: the warrior may be a woman.
In the International Journal of the History of Sport, Alfonso Manas of the University of Granada argues that the evidence indicates that this is “the second piece of visual evidence we have of female gladiators.” In an interview with LiveScience, Anne McCullough, an assistant professor in the Department of Greek and Latin at Ohio State, says, “I think it certainly resembles a female gladiator more than (an) athlete.” However, the warrior is lacking the traditional helmet and other armor associated with gladiators, though LiveScience reports that this could be because she took them off after the battle.
In her left hand, the presumed gladiator holds a curved sword and looks down at the ground, presumably at her recently felled opponent. She wears a loincloth and has a bandage around one knee (the other leg is missing from the statue). Prior to this, UPI reports that the only other depiction of a female gladiator was in a relief from Halicarnassus, which is now housed in the British Museum.
The Museum für Kunst und Gewerbein in Hamburg, Germany currently houses the small bronze statue, which may be 2,000 years old.