Turkish ‘shrine’ turns out to be tomb of ancient Greek boxer

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A 2,300-year-old tomb in Aegean Turkey — once revered as a saint’s shrine — turns out to have been the final resting place of an ancient Greek boxer.

Turkish ‘shrine’ turns out to be tomb of ancient Greek boxer
Experts have discovered the tomb belonging to Diagoras of Rhodes in Turkey
[Credit: Karnaval]

Local people in the Marmaris district of Turgut thought the unusual hilltop pyramid tomb was the burial place of a holy person.

Young men going into the army to do their military service would take a handful of earth from the site as a good-luck talisman.

Turkish ‘shrine’ turns out to be tomb of ancient Greek boxer
The vaulted roof of the tomb [Credit: Karnaval]

Many residents continued to treat it like a holy place until the 1970s when, Turkish newspaper Milliyet reports, the structure was ransacked after it was discovered it had no religious roots.

Now, experts who examined the tomb, claim it belonged to a boxer called Diagoras of Rhodes who lived in the third century BC.

Turkish ‘shrine’ turns out to be tomb of ancient Greek boxer
Modern statue in Rhodes city of Diagoras being carried into a stadium
by his sons Damagetos and Akousilaos [Credit: WikiCommons]

A statue depicting the legendary warrior and his wife was also stolen by thieves.

An inscription in the tomb apparently claims Diagoras will be eternally vigilant “that no coward will come” to disturb his rest.

Other sources say the boxer was the victor in the 79th Olympiad in 464 BC. There is a statue to the fighter in modern-day Rhodes. It is rumored Olympia crowned three generations of his family for their athletic feats, adding to the boxer’s fame.

Source: The Greek Reporter [May 22, 2018]

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