Ass-Kicking Athletes of Antiquity: Porphyrios

by Karl Smallwood

Porphyrios sometimes known as Calliopas, was an ancient Roman charioteer who raced his horse driven corpse wagon some time between 500-600 AD. Though the exact dates and times of the feats Porphyrios accomplished have been lost to the winds of time, plenty of evidence has been recorded about just how much ass he kicked. In short, he kicked all of it. All of the ass that ever has, or ever will exist was punched square in the cheek by this man’s leather sandal-bound foot. But here’s a first for Asskickers of Antiquity: today’s athlete was an evil prick.

Young Porphyrios was so adept at the art of chariot racing that he was forcing opponents to eat his dust way before he’d even hit puberty and by the time he was ready to play games of just the tip with the teeming mass of chariot groupies he’d amassed, he was already having statues dedicated to just how great he was. For comparison’s sake, lesser charioteers of the time had to wait until they retired to get a single statue. By the time he retired Porphyrios had seven. Several of which had sections entirely dedicated to describing how attractive he was, because those are the facts you want future comedy bloggers to remember dammit.

We had to go to Greece to find the only charioteer statue that isn't of him.

We had to go to Greece to find the only charioteer statue that isn’t of him.

His level of fame was so great that when Porphyrios walked into a synagogue and decided to start straight up stabbing anyone who looked at him sideways, no one cared. That’s right folks, Porphyrios was so famous and great at sports that he could get away with committing horrific hate crimes, just like today’s sports stars!

Chariot racing, although it involved much lower speeds than comparable sports like Nascar and Formula 1, was arguably far, far more dangerous. Simply because racers like Porphyrios didn’t have the benefit of racing while sat in a custom designed fiberglass coffin perfectly contoured and formed to protect their balls. The only thing charioteers had to protect themselves was a knife, which we’re sad to report, wasn’t for stabbing other racers (though we like to think that at least one person did that) it was actually given to racers for the much more serious task of cutting themselves free in the highly likely event that they crashed into a bloody heap of crushed horse and failed dreams.

Porphyrios won so many races over his career that he was actually sniped by a rival team. To explain, there were 4 main teams a charioteer could choose or be asked to race for in ancient Rome, the reds, the greens, the blues and the whites. Though we’re a little miffed that no team opted to call themselves the Tigers or the Dicksmashers, we’re not versed well enough in Roman history to question their reasoning.

Now it was commonplace for a charioteer to race for one team his entire life, but then again, Porphyrios wasn’t a common man. He was a machine only fueled by the failure of others and allegiance to a “team” just got in the way of him being an unstoppable badass which is why he competed for several of them over his life team.

"C'mon, we'll play again, same level, and I'll use the sticky controller. I'll even choose Balrog."

“C’mon, we’ll play again, same level, and I’ll use the sticky controller. I’ll even choose Balrog.”

Porphyrios was also famous for completing something known as “the diversium” which was basically the ultimate dick move of the ancient racing world, though considering what you’ve already read about Porphyrios, are you really surprised he found mores ways to tell his opponent to suck it? To complete a diversium, a given racer would need to first win a race, then immediately afterwards said racer would swap chariots with the loser, then win again against his own team. Porphyrios is the only known racer in all of history to accomplish this feat twice in a single day, which is why he’s also the only known racer in history to have historians suspect his middle fingers were permanently raised. That’s like hearing someone complain about lag on Xbox live, driving to their house and beating them again with their copy of Call of Duty while you whup them one-handed. You know, only with horses and Roman-era prostitutes. We actually suspect that the only reason this man didn’t win every race on foot is because he didn’t want to get his ass-kicking foot dirty. Which is odd, because his hands were already stained with blood.

So the next time you’re watching people fly around a track at 140 MPH and take the time to appreciate their reflexes and skills, spare a thought for the guy in ancient Rome who was so skilled, dominant and confident as a racer he was able to give an opponent his vehicle and then win any way. Because seriously, why was this guy left out of history class? We already learn about nothing but evil dudes in there. We should at least learn about the ones who were speed demons. We should at least learn about goddamn Porphyrios.

Dude, you've got a gorgeous girl on your arm -- show no fear.

Dude, you’ve got a gorgeous girl on your arm — show no fear.

Karl Smallwood is a freelance comedy writer that you can hire! His work has been featured on, and 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.

greatgama Ass Kicking Athletes of Antiquity: Porphyrios

Why, his mustache alone could best you in combat!

Karl also documented The Most Hilarious Overreactions to Scary Movies. For a more contemporary ass-kicking athlete, check out Karl’s account of the five-decades-and-counting winning streak enjoyed by The Great Gama.

More from Karl Smallwood

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