The relief is part of a larger composition. It depicts two figures. The man to the front, in a tunic, holds a staff which indicates his office: he is the referee (summa rudis, ʻchief staff’). The other man is a gladiator in a broad-brimmed helmet and scale armour, holding a round shield and a sword. Gladiators were distinguished by their equipment and mode of fighting. The fighter represented here is a ʻknight’ (eques) who started the battle on horseback, then continued on foot. His opponent was also a knight; the games opened with their duel.
Marble analyses conducted by Danielle Decrouez (Geneva, Museum of Natural History) and Karl Ramseyer (University of Bern, Institute of Geological Sciences) have shown that the relief was made of Luna (Carrara) marble. Click here for the detailed results.