This roundel portrays two men, dressed alike, engaged in a duel on foot. They both wear long tunics, sport a distinctive bowl haircut, and grip a double-ended hammer in one hand and a square shield in the other. Both raise their hammers and their shields; neither seems to have the advantage.
The two figures, apparently western Europeans, are engaged in a judicial combat, also known as a trial by combat. The practice of trial by combat in England, introduced after the Norman Conquest, was still well known in England c. 1250 even though it was gradually being replaced by jury trials. Part of the preparation for trial by combat was to be shorn by a barber, suggesting the ritual nature of this event and explaining the men’s unusual haircut. The connotation of this scene in the context of the other roundels would have been clear: just as God was believed to be the actual judge in judicial combats, because he chose the winner, so God would also choose the victor in the crusades.
To learn more about the soldier tiles, see the video on the Parthian Shot page.