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How About Chariot Racing?

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How About Chariot Racing?

Postby Lawrence on Thu Sep 02, 2010 7:32 pm

http://news.discovery.com/history/highest-paid-athlete-hailed-from-ancient-rome.html

Highest-Paid Athlete Hailed From Ancient Rome Analysis by Rossella Lorenzi

Ultra millionaire sponsorship deals such as those signed by sprinter Usain Bolt, motorcycle racer Valentino Rossi and tennis player Maria Sharapova, are just peanuts compared to the personal fortune amassed by a second century A.D. Roman racer, according to an estimate published in the historical magazine Lapham's Quarterly.

According to Peter Struck, associate professor of classical studies at the University of Pennsylvania, an illiterate charioteer named Gaius Appuleius Diocles earned “the staggering sum" of 35,863,120 sesterces (ancient Roman coins) in prize money.

Recorded in a monumental inscription erected in 146 A.D., the figure eclipses the fortunes of all modern sport stars, including golfer Tiger Woods, hailed by Forbes magazine last fall “sports' first billion-dollar man.”

Diocles, “the most eminent of all charioteers,” according to the inscription, was born in Lusitania, in what is now Portugal and south-west Spain, and started his spectacular career in 122 A.D., when he was 18.

Life for a charioteer in Rome wasn’t easy. Often slaves who could eventually buy their freedom, these racers engaged in wild laps of competition at the Circus Maximum, running a total of about 4,000 meters (nearly 2.5 miles).

“After seven savage laps, those who managed not to be upended or killed and finish in the top three took home prizes,” wrote Struck.

Experienced charioteers drove hard-to-manage chariots driven by four or even more horses.

Their sporting equipment included a leather helmet, shin guards, chest protector, a jersey, a whip, and a sharp knife with which to cut the reins if the chariot overturned.

Although drivers did not have their helmets or whips blessed by generous sponsorship, they could rely on stables or factions, basically teams similar to today’s Formula One: the Reds, Greens, Blues and Whites.

“The drivers affiliated with teams supported by large businesses that invested heavily in training and upkeep of the horses and equipment,” said Struck.

Diocles won his first race two years after his debut with the Whites, four years later, he briefly moved with the great rivals the Greens. But had the most success with the Reds, with whom he remained until the end of his career at the age of “42 years, 7 months, and 23 days.”

He is said to have won 1,462 of his 4,257 races and finished second 861 times, making nine horse “centenari” (100-time winners) and one horse, Pompeianus, a 200-time winner.

The inscription details his winning tactics: he “took the lead and won 815 times,” took the competitors by surprise by “coming from behind and winning 67 times,” and “won in stretch 36 times.”

Although other racers surpassed him in the total number of victories -- a driver called Pompeius Musclosus collected 3,599 winnings -- Diocles became the richest of all, as he run and won at big money events. For example, he is recorded to have made 1,450,000 sesterces in just 29 victories.

Struck calculated that Diocles’ s total earnings of 35,863,120 sesterces were enough to provide grain for the entire population of Rome for one year, or to fund the Roman Army at its height for more than two months.

“By today’s standards that last figure, assuming the apt comparison is what it takes to pay the wages of the American armed forces for the same period, would cash out to about $15 billion,” wrote Struck.

“Even without his dalliances, it is doubtful Tiger could have matched it,” he added.
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Re: How About Chariot Racing?

Postby Sinister on Thu Sep 02, 2010 7:54 pm

Cool. This guy seemed to be the Schumacher of Chariot Racing. Very successful :clap: :clap:


I hope Paul :paul: has photos to show us, since he was present during the Formula Chariot era. :reallyevil: :reallyevil:
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Re: How About Chariot Racing?

Postby Paul on Thu Sep 02, 2010 8:47 pm

Sinister wrote:I hope Paul :paul: has photos to show us, since he was present during the Formula Chariot era. :reallyevil: :reallyevil:


More like the Fangio of chariot racing actually.. He didnt cheat :p
.. Coool guy really although I never could understand that funky lingo he spoke..
here's a pic I snapped of him though

Image



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Re: How About Chariot Racing?

Postby Lawrence on Thu Sep 02, 2010 9:09 pm

Well, here is my chariot. May not be the fastest out there, but it can carry a lot of really good fuel.

Image
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Re: How About Chariot Racing?

Postby Funkmother on Fri Sep 03, 2010 5:10 am

Lawrence wrote:... Struck calculated that Diocles’ s total earnings of 35,863,120 sesterces were enough to provide grain for the entire population of Rome for one year, or to fund the Roman Army at its height for more than two months.

“By today’s standards that last figure, assuming the apt comparison is what it takes to pay the wages of the American armed forces for the same period, would cash out to about $15 billion,” wrote Struck.

“Even without his dalliances, it is doubtful Tiger could have matched it,” he added.


I have to say I find the technique for estimating his equivalent earnings today to be dubious. I'd suggest that the Roman army of the day would exist somewhat closer to the subsistence level than today's American troops. I think Struck's suppositions are flawed.
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Re: How About Chariot Racing?

Postby Lawrence on Fri Sep 03, 2010 11:54 am

Funkmother wrote:
Lawrence wrote:... Struck calculated that Diocles’ s total earnings of 35,863,120 sesterces were enough to provide grain for the entire population of Rome for one year, or to fund the Roman Army at its height for more than two months.

“By today’s standards that last figure, assuming the apt comparison is what it takes to pay the wages of the American armed forces for the same period, would cash out to about $15 billion,” wrote Struck.

“Even without his dalliances, it is doubtful Tiger could have matched it,” he added.


I have to say I find the technique for estimating his equivalent earnings today to be dubious. I'd suggest that the Roman army of the day would exist somewhat closer to the subsistence level than today's American troops. I think Struck's suppositions are flawed.


Yep....on the other hand, if you compared it to just grain buying ability, I suspect it would come out to be a whole lower.

Here is what Wikipedia says about the value of a sesterces:

"The sestertius was also used as a standard unit of account, represented on inscriptions with the monogram HS. Large values were recorded in terms of sestertium milia, thousands of sestertii, with the milia often omitted and implied. The hyper-wealthy general and politician of the late Roman Republic, Crassus (who fought in the war to defeat Spartacus), was said by Pliny the Elder to have had 'estates worth 200 million sesterces'.

A loaf of bread cost roughly half a sestertius, and a sextarius (~0.5 liter) of wine anywhere from less than half to more than 1 sestertius. One modius (6.67 kg) of wheat in 79 AD Pompeii cost 7 sestertii, of rye 3 sestertii, a bucket 2 sestertii, a tunic 15 sestertii, a donkey 500 sestertii.[1]

Records from Pompeii show a slave being sold at auction for 6,252 sestertii. A writing tablet from Londinium (Roman London), dated to c. 75–125 AD, records the sale of a Gallic slave girl called Fortunata for 600 denarii, equal to 2,400 sestertii, to a man called Vegetus. It is difficult to make any comparisons with modern coinage or prices, but for most of the first century AD the ordinary legionary was paid 900 sestertii per annum, rising to 1,200 under Domitian (81-96 AD), the equivalent of 3.3 sestertii per day. Half of this was deducted for living costs, leaving the soldier (if he was lucky enough actually to get paid) with about 1.65 sestertii per day.

If we assume a legionary's wages were based on an individual who needed to support a family of 5 with a working wife, a typical yearly income for the family could be around 1,000 sestertii. This would correspond to between $1500 and $1750 per year for a family of five in Congo,[citation needed] although other factors such as income inequality and the citizen status of legionaries mean this figure is not perfectly accurate. It could be assumed though that at one point 1 sestertius was the equivalent of $1.50, 1.11 euros or £1. According to this exchange rate a Congo citizen living on $150 a year could afford 400 pounds of bread a year in ancient Rome, which is enough to keep someone healthy enough to work, a standard of living common to Roman plebeians and slaves of the time."
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Re: How About Chariot Racing?

Postby Sinister on Fri Sep 03, 2010 1:16 pm

:eh: :eh: :eh: :eh:



How the f*ck do you pronounce Sesterces?? :argh: :hihi: :hihi:
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Re: How About Chariot Racing?

Postby D-Type on Sat Sep 04, 2010 4:13 pm

My Latin teacher used to pronounce it Sess - turr - sees or if you prefer: "sister sees"

The chariot photo shows why chariots raced anticlockwise - you wouldn't be able to use the whip on right hand corners as it would get wrapped round the scenery, flag marshals, vestal virgins, fences etc on the inside of the corner.
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Re: How About Chariot Racing?

Postby Adam on Sat Sep 04, 2010 10:45 pm

Surely it would be "sess-ter-kees"? I was under the impression that "c" was always pronounced "hard" in Latin, regardless of context.
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Re: How About Chariot Racing?

Postby D-Type on Sun Sep 05, 2010 2:05 pm

Adam wrote:Surely it would be "sess-ter-kees"? I was under the impression that "c" was always pronounced "hard" in Latin, regardless of context.

That is very likely - it's a l-o-n-g time since I was at school.

If I remember correctly, the Romans didn't use "K"' except in words they'd borrowed or pinched from Greek so a hard "C" makes sense. But church Latin, which basically uses Italian pronunciation, does use a soft "ch" sound for some "C's" that are followed by "e" - I can't say if it's always the case or just sometimes. Classical "Oxbridge" Latin uses different pronunciation from "church" Latin and I'm sure the Poles, Germans, Spanish, Portuguese, etc are different again.

But anyway , our top charioteer was definitely well paid.

With inflation and other economic pressures, I'm sure the buying power of the sestertius varied over the life of the Roman empire.

As an aside, "£ s d" stood for "Lira, solidi and denarii". At the time the Euro came along, the Italian Lira was something like 2300 to the pound sterling while a Kuwaiti dinar (denarii) is currently 2.25 pounds sterling giving a range of about 5000 in conversion factors
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Re: How About Chariot Racing?

Postby Funkmother on Mon Sep 20, 2010 3:44 am

D-Type wrote:... The chariot photo shows why chariots raced anticlockwise - you wouldn't be able to use the whip on right hand corners as it would get wrapped round the scenery, flag marshals, vestal virgins, fences etc on the inside of the corner.


Nice one!
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Re: How About Chariot Racing?

Postby Sinister on Fri Sep 24, 2010 9:23 pm

Lawrence wrote:Well, here is my chariot. May not be the fastest out there, but it can carry a lot of really good fuel.

Image



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Re: How About Chariot Racing?

Postby Lyria on Mon Sep 27, 2010 3:55 pm

Lawrence wrote:Well, here is my chariot. May not be the fastest out there, but it can carry a lot of really good fuel.

Image


Lawrence, that isn't you in the picture, I assume he must be your pit crew? :hihi: :rotflmao:
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Re: How About Chariot Racing?

Postby Funkmother on Tue Sep 28, 2010 3:45 am

Lyria wrote:Lawrence, that isn't you in the picture, I assume he must be your pit crew? :hihi: :rotflmao:


Yeah, he's quite good too. He can change both wheels in under 20 minutes. And he's cheap.
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Re: How About Chariot Racing?

Postby Sinister on Tue Sep 28, 2010 9:20 am

:clap: :hihi:
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