Marcus Aurelius Asklepiades

Marcus Aurelius Asklepiades was a pankratiast from Alexandria in Egypt. He was the son of another topathlete, Marcus Aurelius Demetrios, who was a periodos-victor in the pankration and a successful wrestler and was, moreover, invested with several top offices in the athletic guild after his career in sports.

Asklepiades was unbeaten as pankratiast for six years around AD 180. He succeeded Demostratos Damas as the greatest champion of his time. Asklepiades was periodos-victor and won many other games in Greece, Italy and Asia. He was such an impressive athlete, that many of his contestants spontaneously withdrew after the first round. He received honorary citizenships of many cities where he had obtained a victory. After six years he retired, because he could no longer stand the envy of the other athletes. About fourteen years later, however, he had a short comeback and won the local Olympic games of Alexandria.

Just like his father, Asklepiades was invested with several important offices in the athletic guild after his sports career. This fighter was certainly not a mindless muscleman, for he was a member of the Museum of Alexandria. You can compare this with a modern athlete receiving an honorary degree from a famous university.

© KU Leuven, 2012