Roman Gladiator clasp knife

Contributed by Piddington Roman Villa Museum

The 3rd century Piddington Gladiator clasp knife probably used to sharpen new nibs on quills or reed pens.

This object arrived at Piddington from Gaul or Rome and may have been brought back as a souvenir from the games.A finely detailed late 2nd-3rd century AD Roman clasp knife found in the courtyard of Piddington Roman Villa. It depicts a 'secutor' gladiator and is made of copper alloy with an iron blade, inlaid with copper and silver. The knife would have been used for sharpening quill pens and embodies the opulence and sophistication of life at the villa. The knife was most likely made on the continent in Gaul or Italy, to judge by its maker's familiarity with the gladiator's attire and equipment. It may have been a gift from a visitor to the villa, or it may have been purchased by the villa owner as a souvenir whilst watching gladiatorial events on the continent.

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