In Turkey, archaeologists have unearthed an unusual sarcophagus from the Roman period – it was identified as the tomb of an ancient warrior who bore the honorary and rare title of “protector of the emperor.”
According to Arkeonews, the find was made in the province of Kocaeli in western Turkey. A similar sarcophagus was first discovered in Turkish Anatolia. It is reported that he was in one of the 37 graves excavated between 2017 and 2019. These were rescue excavations carried out at the archaeological site by the mission of the Kocaeli Museum.
Only now archaeologists have completed the examination of the found tombs. Almost all of them belong to the Roman period, however, one of the burials attracted the attention of scientists with an inscription on the sarcophagus made in Latin.
An additional study was carried out. As a result, a team led by Associate Professor Hussein Sami Ozturk of the University of Marmara found that the sarcophagus belonged to a warrior named Tsiampo, who was the bodyguard of Emperor Diocletian.
The inscription on the sarcophagus reads: “I lived for 50 years. I do not allow anyone but my son Severus or my wife to be buried in this grave. I served in the army for nine years as a cavalryman, 11 years as a private and 10 years as a protector [bodyguard]. If whoever dares to bury another in this tomb will pay 20 follis to Fisk and 10 to the city treasury.”
Scholars have also established that Ciampo’s status in later times could be described as “adjutant to the emperor.” Interestingly, it was a warrior of Romanian origin. Focusing on the inscription, scholars say: Ciampo began his military career as a cavalryman and after nine years of service he was promoted to the rank of “ordinary”, that is, he became a captain. In this rank, he served for another 11 years, after which he received the title of “protector”, that is, a defender.
“Protector is a very important title given to a soldier in an elite unit of the army of the late Roman Empire,” the researchers write. Until now, the names of only seven “defenders of the emperor” were known to science. These were warriors of origin from the territories of modern Italy, Croatia, Serbia, Algeria and Saudi Arabia. Thus, Ciampo became the eighth bodyguard of the emperor identified. Moreover, this is the first time that scientists have found not only a record of him, but also his remains, as well as funeral gifts.