Tuesday, 7 February 2023

Gladiator tombstone - Diodorus

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 signaling his surrender. The inscription says that the stone marks the spot where a man named Diodorus is buried.

"After breaking my opponent Demetrius I did not kill him immediately," reads the epitaph. "Fate and the cunning treachery of the summa rudis killed me." The summa rudis is a referee.

Among the rules he enforced was one in which a defeated gladiator could request submission, and if submission was approved by the munerarius (the patron paying for the show), the contestant could leave the arena without further harm. Another rule that appears to have been in place was that a gladiator who fell by accident (without the help of his opponent) would be allowed to get back up, pick up his equipment and resume combat. Diodorus did indeed defeat Demetrius and take his sword 1,800 years ago. Demetrius was allowed to get back up again, take back his shield and sword, and then resume the fight in which Diodorus was eventually killed. It was the referee's call that resulted in his gladitorial death. The inscription also indicates Diodorus was born in and fought in Amisus, on the south coast of the Black Sea in Turkey.