| More

Notes on a Gladiatorial Inscription from Plotinopolis

Views: 472 Downloads: 296
Dimitrios Papanikolaou
Dimitrios Papanikolaou


The paper is concerned with a new gladiatorial tombstone from Plotinopolis. The paper raises serious doubts on the text of the inscription offered by itsinitial editor (Tsoka 2015); it also pinpoints towards Sharankov’s proposal(Année Épigraphique 2014 [2017] no. 1165, 493) as the only viable solution forthe text of the inscription, citing also unnoticed parallel passages from ancientGreek inscriptions and texts as evidence substantiating the new reading of the stone (see nn. 7-9). The paper expresses also disagreement over Tsoka’s assertion that thewords λοῦδοι and Μάτερνος of the inscription are mere transcriptions into Greek letters of the Latin words ludi, Maternus – and that the name Μάτερνοςimplies Romanisation. It is argued that the Latin-derived name of a gladiator ghting in the Eastern (Greek-speaking) side of the Roman Empire is not a safe marker of Romanisation. This is demonstrated by the epigraphical evidenceattesting to the habit of Greek-speaking gladiators to adopt professionalpseudonyms, many of them (25% of all recorded cases) Latin-derived ones; thepaper argues that the name Μάτερνος is simply a Latin-derived gladiatorialpseudonym. Plutarch’s testimony further substantiates that gladiators could be ethnic Greeks or culture-Greeks (see n. 20). As far as the word λοῦδοι is concerned, the poetic declination of the word in the stone attests to the laststages in the adaptation of a Latin-derived word into a fundamentally Greek linguistic environment. The paper argues that the Latin-derived vocabulary ofthe stone (Μάτερνος, λοῦδοι) should be viewed as a further piece of evidenceattesting to the recognition on the part of the Greek-speakers of the time, that gladiation was a fundamentally Roman cultural institution, a cultural import whose onomastics and terminology could rather remain untranslated.

Full Text:



Athanassiadi, A.P. 1999. Τὸ Ἡμερολόγιο τῆς Ἁγίας Περπέτουας, Athens. Autenrieth, G. 1895. A Homeric Dictionary, New York.

Cameron, A. 1931. “Latin Words in the Greek Inscriptions of Asia Minor”, AJP 52, 232-262.

Cameron, A. 1973. Porphyrius the Charioteer, Oxford.

Carcopino, J. 1942. Aspects mystiques de la Rome païenne, Paris.

Carter, M. 1999. “A Doctor Secutorum and the Retiarius Draukos from Corinth”, ZPE 126, 262-268.

Cougny, E. 1890. Epigrammatum Anthologia Palatina, cum Planudeis et Appendice Nova Epigrammatum veterum ex libris et marmoribus [...], vol. 3, Mainz-Paris.

Keil, J. 1953. ‘‘Vertreter der zweiten Sophistik in Ephesos’’, JÖAI 40, 5-26. Mainardis, F. 2004. Aliena Saxa, Rome.

Mann, Chr. 2011. ‘Um keinen Kranz, um das Leben kämpfen wir’. Gladiatoren im Osten des Römischen Reiches und die Frage der Romanisierung, Berlin.

Nigdelis, P., Stefani, L. 2000. ‘‘Νέα ἐπιτύμβια μνημεῖα μονομάχων ἀπὸ τὴν Bέροια”, Tεκμήρια 5, 87-107.

Nigdelis, P. 2000. “Μακεδονικὰ Ἐπιγραφικά”, Tεκμήρια 5, 133-147.

Paton, W.R., Hicks, E.L. 1891. The Inscriptions of Cos, Oxford.

Patrich, J. 2011a. “Caesarea in the Time of Eusebius”, in: S. Inowlocki, C. Zamagni (eds.), Reconsidering Eusebius. Collected Papers on Literary, Histor- ical, and Theological Issues (Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae 107), Leiden-Boston [Brill], 1-24.

Patrich, J. 2011b. Studies in the Archaeology and History of Caesarea Maritima: Caput Judaeae, Metropolis Palestinae (Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity 77), Leiden-Boston [Brill].

Pfuhl, E., Möbius, H. 1979. Die ostgriechischen Grabreliefs, vol. 2, Mainz.

Robert, L. 1940. Les Gladiateurs dans l’Orient grec, Paris.

Smyth, H.W. 1956. Greek Grammar, Cambridge, Mass.

Swain, S. 1996. Hellenism and Empire. Language, Classicism, and Power in the Greek World, AD 50-250, Oxford.

Tsoka, A. 2015. ‘‘’Eπιτύμβια στήλη μονομάχου ἀπὸ τὴν Πλωτινόπολη (Διδυμότειχο)”, Τεκμήρια 12, 81-98.

Weisshäupl, R. 1889. Die Grabgedichte der griechischen Anthologie, Vienna.

Whitmarsh, T. 2001. Greek Literature and the Roman Empire, Oxford. Wiedemann, T. 1992. Emperors and Gladiators, London / New York


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.