Gladiatorial Mosaic from Reims.25 No fragments
resembling a face have yet been seen, but the face could well
be obscured by a helmet as in the gladiators from Reims.
Orange, yellow and blue/grey tesserae predominate in
the gladiatorial panel, but these tesserae are not to
be found in the fragments associated with the aquarium scene.
The workmanship is not so fine, and the floor surface gives
the impression of having been ground down and smoothed by the
mosaicist. The grinding could not have been caused by general
wear, suggesting that the mosaic was in use for only a short
General Scheme of the Gladiatorial Mosaic
The pair of gladiators would have probably featured in the
square central panel, bordered by a single band of guilloche.
Many fragments of perspective box pattern survive, and this
design may have surrounded the main panel. Set into the
perspective box pattern would have been a number of boxes
containing rosette designs with tendrils radiating from
between the leaves; smaller boxes contained a leaf and stalk
motif. A wide band of guilloche and a white border would have
surrounded the design; some of this white border was found in
Possible Aquarium Scene
Very few fragments survive, and from these I can only
interpret the reconstruction as a dolphin. The tesserae used
in this work are much finer than those used in the
gladiatorial scene, all measuring approximately ¼ inch
square. None of the orange, yellow and blue/grey stones
appear, and the black outline tesserae are of a
different shade. A purple/ red stone features in some
fragments, but this colour is not to be found in the
The surface of these stones is also different, and they appear
to have either had much wear or, more probably, to have been
subjected to water, which has dissolved the mortar from
between the tesserae; it is, therefore, possible that
this mosaic came from the cold plunge-bath (Room 31).
26 H. Stern, Recueil General des
Mosaiques de la Gaule, I. Province de Belgique, 1. Partie
Oueso, Gallia, Xe Supplement, Paris, 1957,
pls. XIII, 15, and XII, 9.