Bible and Archaeology News
A newly translated Greek inscription recovered from the ancient town of Oinoanda in southwest Turkey reveals that the Roman army relied on the services of a mixed martial arts champion to recruit new soldiers to the army. The early third-century C.E. inscription honors Lucius Septimius Flavianus Flavillianus who was a revered champion in wrestling and pankration, a bloody fighting sport that had only two rules: no eye-gouging and no biting. According to the inscription, which was engraved on the base of a statue in the town’s agora, Lucius eventually became a Roman military recruiter who identified and then transported new soldiers to the Syrian city of Heirapolis. “[Lucius] would have been able to judge suitable recruits, and he probably knew lots of suitable recruits,” said Nicholas Milner, a researcher with the British Institute at Ankara who translated the inscription. “A celebrity would have a greater ability to drum up support and large numbers of volunteers than somebody who was not a celebrity.”
Sign up to receive our email newsletter and never miss an update.
Dig into the world of Bible history with a BAS All-Access membership. Biblical Archaeology Review in print. AND online access to the treasure trove of articles, books, and videos of the BAS Library. AND free Scholar Series lectures online. AND member discounts for BAS travel and live online events.Subscribe Today