These greaves are an interpretation of those worn by Centurio Quintus Sertorius Festus, as depicted on his funerary stele. While the detail on the carved stele shows the scrolls over the shin in clear detail, the faces that decorate the knees are damaged enough to require interpretation. We have used contemporary Roman depictions of lions’ heads to clarify this detail.
In addition to their impressive aspect, the wearer of these greaves can be sure that they have been made with the greatest attention to historical detail. The composition of the low-zinc brass they are made from falls within the attested range of similar Roman artifacts, and the thickness, edge-treatment and tie loops can all be confirmed by comparison with gladiator greaves unearthed in Pompeii. The raised decorations, too, follow the ancient tradition of working metal into warmed pitch to get the deepest relief and best detail.