Ass-Kicking Athletes of Antiquity: Milo of Croton

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We're just surprised that when he died, he didn't choke Hades into submission.

We’re just surprised that when he died, he didn’t choke Hades into submission.

960250_703321939687678_299353118_n Karl Smallwood
Karl Smallwood is the head writer, researcher and all round gopher of...
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by Karl Smallwood

Milo of Croton was a legendary 6th century Greek wrestler famed for his strength, appetite and the fact he was so buff he needed a marble sculpter to give him a tattoo. Whereas most wrestlers today stand in the squared circle and throw meaningless threats at each other, Milo would walk into an arena carrying an adult bull which he’d then powerslam and consume for sustenance in a single sitting. Because that is how you make an entrance.

Milo basically lived to wrestle, as a boy he won a great number of wrestling based championships up to and including an Olympic title. His wins only became easier as he grew into a man of such immense size that the simple act of flexing his biceps sent out a wave of energy that impregnated nearby women and caused men to grow chest hair on their eyelids.

Just a dude slinging a cow around like it's no big deal.

Just a dude slinging a cow around like it’s no big deal. This statue is partially damaged because stone cannot bear the weight of his disproportionately huge balls.

Milo built up this immense strength by carrying a baby calf every single day as a boy. As Milo grew so did the calf. Until eventually Milo was carrying a fully grown bull around on his shoulder like it wasn’t no thing. The bull presumably had no say in the matter lest it wished to argue with Milo’s arms. Milo accomplished this feat several times in his life seemingly just to show that he could and to send a message to bulls everywhere. Usually after lifting the bull he’d, as mentioned, kill and eat it in a single sitting. Because there’s a special place in hell for people who waste good beef. In fact there’s a special place for it here in our time too, but it’s unlikely that Milo had access to a Burger King in ancient Greece.

This exercise coupled with Milo’s constant man slamming gave the wrestler a reputation as a walking slab of marble with the brains to boot, though it’s hard to imagine that anyone in Ancient Greece had the balls to say this the Milo’s face, considering he won 35 separate championships including six Olympic titles. If he was alive today he’d have so many wrestling belts and titles he’d be able to cosplay as Goldar from Power Rangers just by trying to put them all on.

This is the improper stance for carrying your cow that can lead to back problems and too much intimacy with the cow.

This is the improper stance for carrying your cow that can lead to back problems and too much intimacy with the cow.

But Milo wasn’t just about slamming men to the ground in organized combat–oh hell no, when you’ve got buns that won’t quit and the ability to rip a man’s head off like freaking Sub-Zero you take that $#!+ to the battlefield. Milo, playing on his vast reserves of strength, entered battle disguised as Heracles, by running into battle completely naked save for a lion skin robe and a club, which we suspect many mistook for the enormous piece of man meat he had to be packing to even think of such a tactic to start with.

While wrestling Milo adopted a similarly aggressive style, in which he’d simply crush his opponent by bearhugging them hard enough to make their ribs look like an inside-out spider or by slamming them to ground hard enough that they’d owe Mother Nature child support payments. In fact, it wasn’t until Milo had dominated the ancient wrestling world for several decades straight that someone beat him in one-on-one combat and to do that they had to adopt a style that literally revolved around running away until Milo collapsed from exhaustion. Milo was so dangerous that the only way to beat him was to simply run away so he couldn’t catch you. That’s not a fighting style, that’s a survival tip on how to avoid being mauled by a bear.

Though we mentioned that Milo won six Olympic titles up there, his actual epitaph reads that he won seven, the reason? It’s commonly believed that Milo once attended an Olympiad, found no one who’d dare challenge him and was thus declared the winner by default. The only reason we’re forced to say six victories is because historians don’t think that one should count, you’ll note that historians don’t have to contest this feat with Milo himself. Then again, neither did the people who carved Milo’s epitaph and they still put seven, so yeah, historians, good luck explaining yourself to Milo’s ghost.

He was probably attacked by wolves because he smelled like steak.

He was probably attacked by wolves because he smelled like steak.

So how did this man mountain die? Well, according to legend Milo happened across a tree stump in the forest and keen to test his strength he attempted to split it apart with his bare hands. While attempting this, legend says that Milo became stuck, after which he was set upon by a pack of wolves we hope were hired by an angry mob of cow widows. Now whether or not you believe that legend is up to you, but we refuse to believe that this image of Milo strangling wolves to death with his thighs wasn’t based on a real event or at the very least, proves that reincarnation exists and thus Liam Neeson has and will live forever.

So the next time you’re watching wrestling, just remember that once upon a time there was a wrestler so dominant the only way to beat him was to run away or have him torn apart by wolves while he was working out. A man who, when not  wrestling, ran naked and screaming onto the battlefield wearing an Aslan pimp coat and lived to tell the tale. Because when you stop and realize that men like that existed, you’ll realize why history teachers tried to make us read those dusty old books. Why they didn’t just put this man on the cover is anybody’s guess, though we assume it was to stop people going through early onset puberty when they looked at it.


Figging sounds way scarier than any swear you could devise.

Figging sounds way scarier than any swear you could devise.

Karl Smallwood is a freelance comedy writer you can hire! His work has been featured on Cracked, Toptenz and Gunaxin. You should probably click those links to make sure he isn’t lying. He also runs his own website where he responds to the various pieces of hate-mail he’s gotten over the years, in fact, he got so much hate-mail that he wrote a book about it that you can buy on Amazon. When he isn’t writing, Karl also Tweets and uploads pictures of himself drinking on Facebook.

Gama was The Shadow to Bruce Lee's Batman

Gama was The Shadow to Bruce Lee’s Batman

Need more ass-kicking athletes of antiquity? Karl told ye the tale of the brutal boxer James Figg and the much more verifiable wrestling antics of The Great Gama.

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