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Gaius Appuleius Diocles

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Title: Gaius Appuleius Diocles  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Lusitanians, Ancient chariot racing, Chariot racing, List of largest sports contracts, Roman Empire
Collection: 2Nd-Century Romans, Ancient Chariot Racing, Ancient Roman Sportspeople, Appuleii, Lusitania, Lusitanians
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Gaius Appuleius Diocles

Gaius Appuleius Diocles was an ancient Hispano-Roman, a Lusitanian of the 2nd century AD, born in Emerita Augusta, 104 AD (now Mérida, Spain), died in Praeneste, (present Palestrina, Italy) notable for 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".[1] Adjusted for inflation, as of 2014 his fortune was equivalent to about 15 billion USD.


  • '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,, 13 Aug 2010
  • Charioteers and Racing Factions
  • The Origins and Evolution of the Lusitano
  • "Roman Life", Mary Johnston, 1957


  1. ^ David Stone Potter (1999). Life, Death, and Entertainment in the Roman Empire. University of Michigan Press. pp. 296–.  

Other WorldHeritage language sources

  • 'Cayo Apuleyo Diocles', WorldHeritage Spanish, with original Latin epitaph written in stone plaque.


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