Thursday, 19 May 2016

Something to live up to...

Alyssa Fadan is someone I have never met. I don't normally have much to say about people I have never met, but Alyssa has a wonderful Friendface account on which she collates all sorts of useful and inspiring information on history, military history and wargaming - recently she has been on a bit of a Roman bender building up armies for Boudicca's revolt against the Roman administration of southern Britain in AD 60/1. Watching the progress has been quite eye opening. However, getting to the point, she recently posted some snappy information to do with the favourite pastime of ancient Romans, the circus. In light of the forthcoming release of Faustus Furius, I repeat it below with permission and with a couple of minor changes.

The images are my contribution... none  are believed to show Diocles himself.
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Gaius Appuleius Diocles was an ancient Hispano-Roman notable for racing chariots.

His winnings reportedly totaled 35,863,120 sesterces, an amount which could provide a year's supply of grain to the entire city of Rome, or pay the Roman army at its height for a fifth of a year. Classics professor Peter Struck describes him as "the best paid athlete of all time". Adjusted for inflation as of 2015, his fortune was equivalent to somewhere between $100 and $800 million USD.

He most commonly raced four-horse chariots, and in most of his races he came from behind to win. Diocles is also notable for owning an extremely rare ducenarius, or a horse that had won at least 200 races. Records show that he won 1,462 out of the 4,257 four-horse races he competed in.

The following dedication, erected in AD 146 by Diocles (or his biggest fan) records his achievements.

Gaius Appuleius Diocles, charioteer for the Reds, born in Lusitania, Spain, aged 42 years, 7 months, 23 days. He first drove for the Whites during the consulship of Acilius Aviola and Corellius Pansa [AD 122]. He first won for the same faction during the consulship of Manlius Acilius Glabrio and Gaius Bellicius Torquatus [AD 124]. He first drove for the Greens during the second consulship of Torquatus Asprenatis and the first of Annius Libo [AD 128]. He first won for the Reds during the consulship of Laenatis Pontianus and Antonius Rufino [AD 131].

CIL 6.10048


Career highlights: 

  • drove a four-horse chariot for 24 years;
  • started 4,257 races, won 1,462;
  • he won the first race of the day 110 times;
  • in races for single four horse chariots (per faction?) he won 1,064 times, and in this he took the largest purse 92 times; 
  • he won the 30,000 sesterces prize 32 times (3 of them in a 6 horse chariot);
  • he won the 40,000 sesterces prize 28 times (twice in a 6 horse chariot);
  • he won the 50,000 sesterces prize 28 times (one in a 6 horse chariot);
  • he won the 60,000 sesterces prize three times;
  • in races for pairs of four horse chariots (per faction?) he won 347 times;
  • he won 15,000 sesterces four times in a three horse chariot;
  • in races for three chariots (per faction?) he won 51 times;
  • he gained honours 1,000 times;
  • he came second 861 times;
  • he came third 576;
  • he came fourth with 1,000 sesterces once;
  • he took no prize 1,351 times;
  • nine of his horses were used in teams that won at least 100 times;
  • one of his horses was part of teams that won 200 times;
  • his total winnings were 35,863,120 sesterces!
A .pdf of an article by Robert Kebric following Diocles' career may be found HERE.


1 comment:

  1. That's a lot of races. I'd be curious to know how many races a modern day horse racing jockey would compete in.

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