Gaius Appuleius Diocles
Gaius Appuleius Diocles was an ancient Hispano-Roman, a Lusitanian of the 2nd century AD, Emerita Augusta, born In Lamecum (current Lamego) belonging to Emerita Augusta, capital of Lusitania at 104 AD (now Mérida, Spain), died in Praeneste, (present Palestrina, Italy) and lived at Lamego (Douro Portugal) where he lived his childhood with his father who worked and owned a transport business. His first renowned victory outside of Lusitania (actual Portugal) was in Ilerda (now Lleida, Catalonia, Spain). This success gave him international fame and encouraged him go to Rome. He is known as the Lamecus and thereby brought fame and renown to the city of Lamego. Within the city, they erected a statue on top the fountain in front of the garden, known as Jardim do Campo, located in the centre of town. You can still see the tile panel painted by the famous painter Jorge Colaco where he portrays Diocles fitness as the supreme racing athlete driving quadrigas racing chariots. At age 18, he began driving for the White team. After six years, at the age of 24, he switched to the Green team. After three years there, at age 27, he finally began driving for the Red team until his retirement at age 42. Diocles’ career was unusually long—many charioteers died quite young.
He most commonly raced four-horse chariots, and 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. 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". In terms of equivalent buying power as of 2013, his fortune was worth about $15 billion (US).
- 'Greatest of All Time', Peter Struck, Lapham's Quarterly, 2 Aug 2010
- Wealth of today's sports stars is 'no match for the fortunes of Rome's chariot racers', Murray Wardrop, Telegraph.co.uk, 13 Aug 2010
- Charioteers and Racing Factions
- The Origins and Evolution of the Lusitano
- "Roman Life", Mary Johnston, 1957
- David Stone Potter (1999). Life, Death, and Entertainment in the Roman Empire. University of Michigan Press. pp. 296–. ISBN 0-472-08568-9.
- Van Duisen, Michael. "The Highest-Paid Athlete Of All Time Is An Ancient Roman". KnowledgeNuts. Retrieved 22 October 2016.
Other Wikipedia language sources
- 'Cayo Apuleyo Diocles', Wikipedia Spanish, with original Latin epitaph written in stone plaque.