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Varro, speaking of persons remarkable for their strength, gives us an account of Tributanus, a celebrated gladiator, and skilled in the use of the Samnite1 arms;2 he was a man of meagre person, but possessed of extraordinary strength. Varro makes mention of his son also, who served in the army of Pompeius Magnus. He says, that in all parts of his body, even in the arms and hands, there was a network of sinews,3 extending across and across. The latter of these men, having been challenged by an enemy, with a single finger of the right hand, and that unarmed,4 vanquished him, and then seized and dragged him to the camp. Vinnius Valens, who served as a centurion in the prætorian guard of Augustus, was in the habit of holding up waggons laden with casks, until they were emptied; and of stopping a carriage with one hand, and holding it back, against all the efforts of the horses to drag it forward. He performed other wonderful feats also, an account of which may still be seen inscribed on his monument. Varro, also, gives the following statement: "Fusius, who used to be called the ' bumpkin5 Hercules,' was in the habit of carrying his own mule; while Salvius was able to mount a ladder, with a weight of two hundred pounds attached to his feet, the same to his hands, and two hundred pounds on each shoulder." I myself once saw,—a most marvellous display of strength,—a man of the name of Athanatus walk across the stage, wearing a leaden breast-plate of five hundred pounds weight, while shod with buskins of the same weight. When Milo, the wrestler, had once taken his stand, there was not a person who could move him from his position; and when he grasped an apple in his hand, no one could so much as open one of his fingers.

1 It would appear that the Samnites were not only one of the most warlike people, with whom the Romans had to contest in the infancy of their state, but that they were particularly celebrated as gladiators.—B.

2 The gladiators, called Samnites, were armed with the peculiar "scutum," or oblong shield, used by the Samnites, a greave on the left leg, a sponger on the breast, and a helmet with a crest.

3 The term "nervus" was generally applied by the ancients to the sinews or tendons; they had a very indistinct knowledge of what are properly called the "nerves."—B.

4 Pintianus suggests another reading here, which would appear to be much more consistent with probability. "Inermi dextrâ superatum, et uno digito postremo correptum in castra," &c.—"Conquered him with the right hand, and that unarmed, and then with a single finger dragged him to the camp."

5 "Rusticellus."

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