Hyacintus (Gladiator Trainer)

By
Elisabeth Campbell
Elisabeth Campbell is a graduate student in the Interdepartmental Program in Classical Art and Archaeology, based in the Classics Department. Her interests include Roman history and archaeology, and she is currently working on her dissertation on the commemoration of victories in the Roman Republic.
  • 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.