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The Charioteer

World's Wealthiest Athlete

By Dr. WilliamsPublished 5 months ago 3 min read

In all of the history has no other athlete come even close in amassing the colossal fortune that was earned by one Ancient Roman, Gaius Appuleius Diocles. The Charioteer, par exultance won about 1,460 times of the over 4,500 races he completed spanning 24 years. What makes this feat so remarkable considering the violence, the mayhem, and the savagery of the times in Ancient Rome is the fact that he had to endure racing at least 4 times a week for those 24 years.

The history of Chariot racing goes back some 600 years before the birth of Christ. Considered the oldest most popular spectator sport in ancient Rome. Given the savagery and the brutality of what these races entailed it is not surprising that so many charioteers perished while trying to just finish. There were no rules or regulations. The only thing that mattered was winning any way they could. Winners were bestowed vast riches and fame. Much like our modern-day sport celebrities are adorned with multi-million-dollar contracts and endorsements.

In order to put his feats in perspective; envision ring side seating at the Circus Maximus in 89 AD. The magnitude and horror of seeing this brutal of the most popular of sporting events { like Gladiators fighting to the death at the Coliseum were classified as the sporting spectacles of the times } much like the NFL is today. So exquisitely portrayed by Charlton Heston in the movie "Ben Hur" we can begin to see what these events really were like. To win this event even once is so remarketable let alone over 1,400 times is a testament to Gaius Appuleius athletic ability, stamina, training, and a certain amount of luck. Too many a charioteer suffered an agonizing death or received massive debilitating injuries while trying to win a fortune only to die in their attempt.

When we think of fortunes being made by our sports figures of today, where they have million-dollar contracts leading to million-dollar endorsements for all kinds of items is but a small pittance compared to the riches that was won and bestowed on the greatest of all Charioteers. There were no endorsement deals, no multi million dollar contracts or any of the other financial incentives that many of today's athletes now receive. For that matter all attendance to the events in Rome were free. It was considered a right to attend the games as they were called. Not like today were all professional sporting events where if you want to attend you have to buy tickets. Proceeds from ticket sales also contribute to the overall salaries of contracted athletes today.

Modern day sporting events as well as concerts can't even compare to the magnitude and scope of the spectacles of Ancient Rome. The Circus Maximus could accommodate over 250,000 people. The Coliseum where the Gladiators slaughtered each other to he mass hysteria of the populace attending held more than 150,000 spectators all cheering for more blood. The Brutality, and the savagery that took place in both arenas was the manner to which the average Roman considered their athletic entertainment. The greater the brutality, the savagery, and the violence of these spectacles only heightened the entertainment level for the citizens of Ancient Rome.

The Charioteers of Ancient Rome most of whom were former slaves if they managed to attain a certain number of wins acquired enough money to live a very wealthy existence. For Gaius Appuleius to attain what is equivalent in today's earnings of over 15 Billion dollars is such a great credit to his ability, perseverance, and luck. All this in a time where brutality, violence, and savagery occurred when man and animal were pitted against each other for the entertainment of Roman citizens.

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About the Creator

Dr. Williams

A PhD in Economics. Author of National Economic Reform's Ten Articles of Confederation.

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