CLA233H1S: The Circus
A Real Star
Some of the drivers were freeborn people, most were slaves?
Gaius Appuleius Diocles(glory of zeus, greek name..meaning he is an exslave.
He has roman name, roman name, greek name), driver for the Red Faction.
Born in Lusitania, Spain. 42 years, 7 months, 23 days old.
Despite his name being greek, he was born in ispania.
He drove first for the White Faction, beginning in AD 122(emperor Hadrian) and
won his first victory in AD 124, for the same faction. In AD 128, he drove for the
first time with the Green Faction. In AD 131, he won his first victory for the Red
He drove fourhorse chariots for 24 years. He had 4257 starts, with 1462 first
place finishes, 110 of them in opening races(opening vs closed is especialy dense
vs high prises Therefore he was best driver for his faction and had won). In
singleentry races he had 1064 firstplace finishes, winning 92 major purses, 32 of
them worth 30,000 sesterces (three of these finishes were with sixhorse teams),
28 of them worth 40,000 sesterces (two with sixhorse teams), 29 worth 50,000
sesterces (one with a sevenhorse team), and 3 worth 60,000 sesterces.
In doubleentry races he had 347 firstplace finishes, including 4 with threehorse
teams and purses of 15,000 sesterces.
He won a grand total of 35,863,120 sesterces. – to be member of senate you had to
prove you had property worth at least 1 mil sesterces. This guy is richer than
most senators if not all.
In 815 races, he took the lead from the start and held it to the end.
In 67 races, he came from behind to win.
He won in the final stretch 502 times, 216 times over the Greens, 205 times over
the Blues, and 81 times over the Whites.
He made nine horses hundredrace winners, and one horse a twohundredrace
winner. (romans cared about their horses very much. They would call them by
1 their names with affection. IF they wanted to curse them, they would curse each
and every driver and each and every horse).
Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum 6. 10048. (Tr. JoAnn Shelton, As the Romans Did.
A Sourcbook in Roman Social History, Oxford and New York, 1998, pp. 342343).
This guy’s career is enormous and he is very famous. Probably the best.
An Early Death
I am Scorpus, glory of the shoutfilled Circus.
Your applause, Rome, and your shortlived delight.
Envious Lachesis snatched me away before I turned thirty;
while counting up my victorypalms, she believed me an old man.
Martial, Epigrams 10. 53
A Famous Fan
From his earliest youth he was passionate about horses and was always talking
about the games in the circus, although he was told not to. On one occasion,
when he and his fellow pupils were bemoaning the fate of the Greens’ charioteer,
who had been dragged around the arena, and his teacher reproved him, he
pretended they had been talking about Hector. In the early part of his reign, he
used to play every day with ivory chariots on a gaming board and would leave
his country retreat to attend even the most insignificant of circus races, first
secretly and then quite openly so that everyone knew he would be there on that
day.(there are lots of races and not expected to attend them all. As an emperor
you are expected in the first day of a 3day chariot race. But nero spent every day
of holiday he could to attend the races and not attend to the empire lol) He did
not try to conceal his wish that the number of prizes be increased. In
consequence of the greater number of races, the spectacle lasted late into the
evening and the faction leaders disdained to bring their adherents unless it was
for a whole day’s racing. Soon he himself wanted to drive a chariot and even to
2 do so frequently in front of an audience; once he had made his beginning in his
own gardens watched by slaves and poor common people, he offered himself as
a spectacle(made a show of himself) to the entire populace in the Circus
Maximus, with some freedman giving the starting signal usually provided by
Suetonius, Life of Nero 22. Tr. Catharine Edwards. Oxford World’s Classics.
Not A Fan
I have been spending all the last few days among my notes and papers in most
welcome peace. How could I – in the City? The Races were on, a type of spectacle
which has never had the slightest attraction for me. I can find nothing new or
different in them: once seen is enough, so it surprises me all the more that so
many thousands of adult men should have such a childish passion for watching
galloping horses and drivers standing in chariots, over and over again. If they
were attracted by the speed of the horses or the drivers’ skill one could account
for it(pliny is unfair because there are many fans who did in fact care), but in fact
it is the racingcolours they really support and care about, and if the colours were
to be exchanged in midcourse during a race, they would transfer their favour
and enthusiasm and rapidly desert the famous drivers and horses whose names
they shout as they recognize them from afar. Such is the popularity and
importance of a worthless shirt I don’t mean with the crowd, which is worth
less than the shirt, but with certain serious individuals. When I think how this
futile, tedious, monotonous business can keep them sitting endlessly in their
seats, I take pleasure in the fact that their pleasure is not mine. And I have been
very glad to make good use of my idle hours with literary work during these
days which others have wasted in the idlest of occupations.
He presents himself as very roman, but better than roman by having “skills” in
Pliny the Younger, Letters 9. 6 (Tr. Betty Radice, Loeb Classical Library,
(Cambridge, Mass. and London, England, 1969), Volume II, pp. 8689
3 Also Not A Fan, But Glad To Be There
I’m not sitting here because of my enthusiasm for race horses; but I will pray that