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Heroes of Roman games

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

A scene from the movie Ben Hur, 1959
A scene from the movie Ben Hur, 1959

Roman inscriptions allow us to get to know many heroes of the Roman games. One of them was a certain Marcus Aurelius Mollicius, a Rome-born coachman who lived just 20 years.

The inscription mentions that Marcus during his lifetime won chariot races, including 89 for the Red team, 24 for the Green team, 5 for the Blue team and 7 for the White team. In addition, he has twice won the 40,000 sesterce award.

His brother – Marcus Aurelius Polyneices – was an even better coachman. He has won 739 races together, 655 for Red, 55 for Green, 12 for Blue and 17 for White. He drove a team three times with 6 horses, eight times with 8 and 9 times with 10. He lived to the age of 29.

On the basis of the preserved inscriptions, the scientists calculated that the average age of the coachman taking part in the chariot races in ancient Rome was 22 years. Participation in races made it easy to gain fame and money, but usually at the cost of a short life.

  • Harold Arthur Harris, Sport in Greece and Rome

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