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.”
Read about the first discovery of a second-century Roman military camp in the Eastern Empire, as described in a web-exclusive report by the excavation directors.
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