Roman Gladiator's Gravestone Describes Fatal Foul
An enigmatic message on a Roman gladiator's 1,800-year-old tombstone has finally been decoded, telling a treacherous tale.
The epitaph and art on the tombstone suggest the gladiator, named Diodorus, lost the battle (and his life) due to a referee's error, according to Michael Carter, a professor at Brock University in St. Catharines, Canada. Carter studies gladiator contests and other spectacles in the eastern part of the Roman Empire.
He examined the stone, which was discovered a century ago in Turkey, trying to determine what the drawing and inscription meant.
His results will be published in the most recently released issue of the Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik(Journal for Papyrology and Ancient Epigraphics).
The tombstone was donated to the Musee du Cinquanternaire in Brussels, Belgium, shortly before World War I. It shows an image of a gladiator holding what appear to be two swords, standing above his opponent who is signalling his surrender. The inscription says that the stone marks the spot where a man named Diodorus is buried....
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