Hyacintus (Gladiator Trainer)

By
Elisabeth Campbell
Elisabeth Campbell is a graduate student in the Classics Department at Johns Hopkins, where she is writing a dissertation on Roman victory cognomina during the Republican period. Through her work with the museum, Elisabeth has further developed a special interest in Roman epigraphy and numismatics.
  • Accession Number: JHUAM 64 a,b (Wilson 21)
  • Measurements: Height: 38.7 cm, Width: 49.8 cm, Thickness: 2 cm
  • Material: Marble
  • Date/Culture: Roman, 1st century CE.
  • Provenance: Porta Salaria, Rome, Italy

Translation

“Gaius Futius Hyacintus
Instructor of the Oplomachi [lies here].
Futia Philura, freedwoman of Gaius
Made this.”

This columbarium slab marked the tomb of Futius Hyacintus who was an instructor in a gladiatorial school. He appears to have trained the Oplomachi, a specific type of gladiator. Not much is known about the equipment of these fighters, but they may have been similar to the Samnite type. Samnites fought with a sword, and were protected by a rectangular shield, greaves, and a helmet. The tomb was set up by a freedwomen of his, by the name of Futia Philura.

The inscription is dated to the first century C.E., and was found in Rome.  The inscription is also related to an epitaph for another gladiator trainer named Gaius Futius Philargyrus, also in the museum collection.

References

P. Sabbatini Tumolesi, Epigrafia anfiteatrale della Occidente Romano I: Roma, Rome: Edizioni Quasar 1988, p. 61, no. 57; Table XVII fig 1.

H.L. Wilson, “Latin Inscriptions at the Johns Hopkins University III,” American Journal of Philology 30 (1909), 153-170, 170.

The inscription is described in the US Epigraphy Project hosted by Brown University.