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Roman charioteers earned more than today’s athletes

Back in the day Roman charioteers would earn way more than today’s top athletes.

While golfer Tiger Woods was heralded last year as the first athlete to earn over $1 billion, the figure would apparently have been small beer for the fearless entertainers of the Circus Maximus.

One charioteer, named Gaius Appuleius Diocles, amassed a fortune 35,863,120 sesterces in prize money – the equivalent of $15 billion (£9.6 billion), claims Peter Struck, a professor of classical studies.

The 2nd century “champion of all charioteers” made his fortune even without the sponsorship and marketing fees that bolster the pay of his modern counterparts in the sporting world.

The extent of his riches is recorded on a monumental inscription erected in Rome in 146AD by his fellow charioteers and fans.

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