September 3, 2010

the world’s richest athlete was a charioteer

The very best paid of these—in fact, the best paid athlete of all time—was a Lusitanian Spaniard named Gaius Appuleius Diocles, who had short stints with the Whites and Greens, before settling in for a long career with the Reds. Twenty-four years of winnings brought Diocles—likely an illiterate man whose signature move was the strong final dash—the staggering sum of 35,863,120 sesterces in prize money. The figure is recorded in a monumental inscription erected in Rome by his fellow charioteers and admirers in 146, which hails him fulsomely on his retirement at the age of “42 years, 7 months, and 23 days” as “champion of all charioteers.”

35,863,120 sesterces = $15 billion dollars.


  1. Joel Bernstein on September 3rd, 2010 at 11:00 am

    I remember a time when charioteering wasn’t all about the money

  2. Deron Bauman on September 3rd, 2010 at 11:02 am

    love of the game.

  3. Sheila Ryan on September 3rd, 2010 at 11:03 am

    See, there’s the difference between the Greeks and the damn Romans.

  4. Cindy Scroggins on September 3rd, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    Why shouldn’t charioteers be rewarded for their abilities? I guarantee you, his managers and the arena owners rake in a lot more than 35,863,120 sesterces.

  5. Spencer on September 3rd, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    And that doesn’t include any of his income from sandal endorsements.