Mosaic: Roman Boxers and Bull

Floor Mosaic of Roman Boxers and a Bull

Floor Mosaic of Roman Boxers and a Bull

license: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic
source: Wikimedia Commons
author: Dave & Margie Hill / Kleerup

A photograph frames a floor mosaic of two nude Roman boxers. They stand with their backs to each other, with blood streaming from the face of the man on the right. In the background, a bull kneels on the ground.


Artifact: c. 175 AD

Photo: 2010


This Roman mosaic depicts two nude boxers. As was standard in ancient Roman boxing, the descendent of Greek pygmachia, the fighters are nude except for their gloves. This is a depiction of a scene from the 1st century BC epic the Aineid, in which Entellus defeats Dares in a boxing match then immediately kills a sacrificial bull with a single strike to the head.

Related Articles

Greek Pygmachia (Boxing) | History of Boxing | History of Combat Sports


Miller, S. G. (2006). Ancient Greek athletics. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Newby, Z. (2006). Athletics in the ancient world. Bristol: Bristol Classical Press.