Philargyrus (Gladiator Trainer)

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 65 (Wilson 20)
  • Measurements: Height: 19.3 cm, Width: 37.4 cm, Thickness: 3.4 cm
  • Material: Marble
  • Date/Culture: Roman,1st century CE.
  • Provenance: Porta Salaria, Rome, Italy


“Gaius Futius, freedman of Gaius
Instructor of the Velites.”


This slab marked the burial niche of a Gaius Futius Philargyrus. It was found together with the inscription for Gaius Futius Hyacintus. Both men share the Name Futius, which may indicate that they were freedmen of the same man. It was customary that freedman adopted the nomen gentile of their former master.

Like Gaius Futius Hyacintus, this man was also a trainer. The term Velites can apply to a type of soldier or gladiator, but the find context suggests that he trained gladiators.


P. Sabbatini Tumolesi, Epigrafia anfiteatrale della Occidente Romano I: Roma, Rome: Edizioni Quasar 1988, p. 64 f. Nr. 62; Tav. XVII 2.

H.L. Wilson, “Latin Inscriptions at the Johns Hopkins University III,” American Journal of Philology 30 (1909), 153-170, 169-70.

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